US, China exchange stern diplomatic warnings on Taiwan ahead of Biden-Xi summit

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Senior diplomats from China and the United States have exchanged stern warnings over the Taiwan flashpoint issue, ahead of Monday’s much-anticipated summit between their leaders.

The virtual meeting of Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping comes amid growing tensions – partly over Taiwan, an autonomous democracy claimed by Beijing, but also over trade, human rights and other issues.

In a phone call Friday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss preparations for the summit, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concerns about Beijing’s “military, diplomatic and economic pressure” on Taiwan.

Wang warned of the dangers of US actions that might appear to support “Taiwan independence.”

Washington transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but a congressional law passed that year requires the United States to supply arms to Taiwan for self-defense.

The U.S. government is careful not to show it recognizes Taiwan, but it enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress, with a group of lawmakers visiting the island this month, angering Beijing.

“Any collusion and support for ‘Taiwan independence’ forces undermines peace in the Taiwan Strait and would only boomerang in the end,” Wang told Blinken, according to a reading of the appeal released by China on Saturday.

Last night, I spoke with the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi, to discuss the preparations for @POTUS Biden’s meeting with President Xi. I also underscored the United States’ interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and measures to protect the world’s energy supply.

– Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 14, 2021 China has stepped up military activities near Taiwan in recent years, with a record number of planes entering the island’s air defense identification area in early October.

Washington has repeatedly signaled its support for Taiwan in the face of what it called a Chinese aggression.

“Responsible management of competition”

Biden has largely retained Beijing’s stricter approach of his predecessor Donald Trump, with both administrations seeing a rising China as the main challenge of the 21st century.

And while the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases last week unveiled a surprise deal to work together on climate change, Washington and Beijing have indicated they will not back down on flashpoint issues.

US officials have presented Monday’s summit as an opportunity to “manage competition responsibly” while trying to cooperate in areas where the two align.

Xi warned last week against returning Cold War-era tensions to the Asia-Pacific region.

Biden and the Chinese leader have spoken by phone twice since the veteran Democrat moved into the White House.

The couple also met a lot when Biden was vice president to Barack Obama and Xi was vice president to Hu Jintao.

The US president had hoped to meet Xi at a recent G20 summit in Rome, but the Chinese leader has not traveled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and has instead agreed to virtual talks by the end of the year.

(AFP)

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