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Xi warns Biden to not ‘play with hearth’ forward of potential Taiwan journey by Nancy Pelosi

Xi Jinping warned Joe Biden to not “play with hearth” because the Chinese language and US presidents spoke for the primary time since Beijing was angered by a possible go to to Taiwan by Home of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In a press release posted on the Chinese language international ministry’s web site after the 2 leaders talked on Thursday, Xi didn’t straight point out Pelosi’s doable go to however stated his administration would “resolutely safeguard China’s nationwide sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“Those that play with hearth will perish by it. It’s hoped that the US will probably be clear-eyed about this,” China’s president added. China’s international ministry additionally quoted Biden as saying Washington’s one-China coverage had not modified and that his administration didn’t help independence for the self-ruled island, which Beijing claims as a part of its territory.

Requested whether or not the US interpreted the feedback as a menace, a senior administration official stated China has beforehand used the metaphor when discussing Taiwan.

The Biden administration stated the dialog between the leaders was a part of an effort to maintain rising tensions between the 2 nations at bay. Throughout the name, Biden and Xi directed their groups to schedule an in-person assembly between them, a senior US administration official stated.

In its personal account of the decision, the White Home additionally prevented point out of Pelosi’s doable go to. Nevertheless it stated Biden “underscored that the US coverage has not modified and that the US strongly opposes unilateral efforts to alter the established order or undermine peace and stability throughout the Taiwan Strait”.

The official stated the dialog on Taiwan was “direct and sincere”.

“The 2 leaders mainly mentioned the truth that the US and China have variations in terms of Taiwan however they’ve managed these for over 40 years,” the official stated, “and that retaining an open line of communication on this challenge is crucial to persevering with to take action.”

A senior administration official declined to say whether or not Biden raised Pelosi’s deliberate go to through the name with Xi.

The White Home stated the decision lasted for 2 hours, and the leaders mentioned Taiwan, Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and areas of doable co-operation together with local weather change, well being safety and counter-narcotics.

Biden additionally raised the circumstances of Individuals who’ve been wrongfully detained and topic to exit bans and different human rights issues, the senior administration official stated.

The decision was the leaders’ first since March, when tensions had been additionally operating excessive within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Xi met Vladimir Putin shortly earlier than the Russian president despatched his military into Ukraine and has tacitly supported Moscow all through the battle.

Beijing sees journeys to Taiwan by US lawmakers as a violation of Washington’s “one China” coverage, which recognises Beijing as the only authorities of China. Pelosi can be essentially the most senior US lawmaker to go to Taiwan in 25 years.

Pelosi’s plans earlier this yr to go to Taiwan had been postponed when she contracted Covid-19. Her workplace has not but confirmed the dates for her August journey, which Biden stated had raised issues amongst US navy commanders.

“China-US relations are fairly unhealthy in all respects,” stated Shi Yinhong, a world relations professor at Renmin College in Beijing. He added that the Folks’s Liberation Military was more likely to take “essential countermeasures” if Pelosi proceeded together with her journey, however stated China would nonetheless search to “keep away from full and direct navy confrontation with the US”.

The USS Ronald Reagan plane service transited the South China Sea earlier this month earlier than docking in Singapore on July 22. It then cancelled a deliberate port name in Vietnam earlier than crusing again in the direction of the contested sea, the place China is embroiled in a collection of long-running territorial disputes with its maritime neighbours.

Biden and Xi didn’t focus on the South China Sea in depth however Biden broadly addressed Washington’s issues that China’s “actions are at odds with the worldwide rules-based order”, the senior administration official stated.

Zhao Lijian, a China international ministry spokesperson, on Wednesday repeated Beijing’s “agency opposition” to Pelosi’s potential Taiwan journey.

“If the US aspect insists on making the go to and challenges China’s pink line, it will likely be met with resolute countermeasures,” Zhao stated. “The US should assume full accountability for any severe penalties.”

Wen-Ti Sung, a China professional at Australian Nationwide College, stated Beijing’s posturing within the run-up to Thursday’s name had been “robust however removed from its hardest”, in all probability reflecting that the Chinese language Communist get together management was nonetheless deciding learn how to react if Pelosi doesn’t name off the go to.

Taiwan officers are frightened that any Chinese language countermeasures would possible be directed in opposition to the island. However additionally they concern that Xi will probably be emboldened if Pelosi does postpone or cancel her journey.

“[Taiwan and the US] don’t wish to present weak spot,” stated one Asian diplomat, who requested to not be recognized. “I don’t assume there may be anybody who desires to be dictated to by Beijing.”

The deliberate go to additionally comes at an ungainly time for Xi, who’s making ready for a quinquennial get together congress in coming months at which he’s anticipated to safe an unprecedented third time period as head of the get together, state and navy.

Extra reporting by Xinning Liu and Maiqi Ding in Beijing

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