WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke Thursday amid growing tensions surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Biden and Xi spoke for nearly two hours on Thursday, discussing important topics for both countries including the economic issues facing both countries, the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the ongoing Covid pandemic.
The two leaders also discussed Taiwan with Biden telling Xi “the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
Taiwan has become an issue that has added to the strain in the relationship between the countries in recent months. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning a possible trip to Taiwan and China has come out with threats against the United States if she moves forward with those plans.
“The two discussed that the United States and China have differences when it comes to Taiwan, but that they have managed those for over 40 years and that keeping an open line of communication on this issue is essential to doing so,” said a senior administration official.
However, the Chinese had a different readout of the call.
“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” the Chinese said in a statement. “It is hoped that the U.S. will be clear-eyed about this.”
Biden said back in May the United States would respond militarily if China were to invade Taiwan only to have the White House walk back his statement hours later.
John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said Biden would keep the lines of communication open with China and cooperate on issues.
“The president wants to make sure the lines of communication with President Xi remain open because they need to,” he said.