West News Wire: According to Chinese official media, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned President Joe Biden on Friday that the Taiwan issue must be “managed appropriately” to avoid a detrimental impact on bilateral relations.
China considers Taiwan, which is self-governed, to be part of its territory and has not ruled out using force to seize control of the island.
Although Washington has no official diplomatic connections with Taipei, it is Taiwan’s most major international backer and arms supplier, and is seeking Beijing’s assistance in restoring peace in Ukraine following Russia’s February 24 incursion.
“Some individuals in the United States are sending the wrong signals to pro-independence forces in Taiwan, and that’s very dangerous,” Xi told Biden during a video call between the two men on Friday.
“If the Taiwan issue is not handled properly, it will have a subversive impact on the relationship between the two countries.”
In a reminder of Beijing’s threat to assert its claim by force, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, just hours before Biden and Xi spoke. The carrier was shadowed by a US destroyer.
A White House statement said Biden reiterated in the call with Xi that US policy on Taiwan had not changed and emphasised that Washington “continues to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo”.
China has, over the past two years, stepped up its military activity near the island to assert its claims.
“[We] hope the US side will pay adequate attention” to the issue, Xi told Biden.
The US-China relationship, long fraught, has only become more strained since the start of Biden’s presidency. Biden has repeatedly criticised China not just over its provocations against Taiwan, but also over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the crackdown in Hong Kong.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed thanks to Biden for his “emphasis on maintaining the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, as well as his firm support for Taiwan’s security”.
It called on China to take concrete actions and condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Taiwan, which rejects China’s sovereignty claims, has joined in Western-led sanctions against Russia and sent humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees.
Xi also told Biden that the war in Ukraine must end as soon as possible, according to Chinese state media.
All parties should jointly support the Russia-Ukraine dialogue while the United States and NATO should also conduct talks with Russia to solve the “crux” of the Ukraine crisis, Xi said