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Biden, China’s Xi talk Taiwan in rare 2-hour phone call

Then-Vice President Joe Biden honors Chinese President Xi Jinping at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 25, 2015. (U.S. State Dept/Released)
July 28, 2022

President Joe Biden held a rare and lengthy two-hour phone call with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping on Thursday in which Biden distanced himself from Taiwan’s independence.

During the call, Biden reaffirmed to Xi that “United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” according to the White House.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China characterized Biden’s comments on Taiwan as being firmly against the island nation’s independence and claimed that Biden reiterated his support for the one-China policy.

“President Biden said that the world is at a critical moment. US-China cooperation benefits not only the two peoples but also people of all countries. The US hopes to keep an open line of communication with China to enhance mutual understanding and avoid misperception and miscalculation, and will work with China where the interests of the two countries align and, at the same time, properly manage differences,” the statement read. “He reiterated that the one-China policy of the US has not changed and will not change, and that the US does not support ‘Taiwan independence.’”

The White House said that Biden’s call with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi — which Biden requested — was part of the administration’s “efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the [People’s Republic of China] and responsibly manage our differences and work together where our interests align.”

“The call follows the two leaders’ conversation on March 18th and a series of conversations between high-level U.S. and PRC officials. The two presidents discussed a range of issues important to the bilateral relationship and other regional and global issues, and tasked their teams to continue following up on today’s conversation, in particular, to address climate change and health security,” the White House added.

A senior administration official told reporters on Thursday that Biden also spoke to Xi about his “core concerns” with regard to China’s “unfair economic practices, which harm American workers and harm American families.”

“But he did not discuss any potential steps that he might take with President Xi,” the official added.

The official also noted that Biden and Xi did not have the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion about the South China Sea, but said they “did talk, broadly speaking, about concerns about ways in which Chinese activities are at odds with the international rules-based order.”

The call came after China issued threats against the U.S. over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi potentially visiting Taiwan. Biden subsequently said the U.S. military cautioned against Pelosi visiting, however, the U.S. military has been making preparations to bolster forces if Pelosi does indeed take the trip.