Tensions between the US and China have been higher than average in the past few months. The big thing going on is that China refuses to join the American-led attack on the Russian economy over the war in Ukraine. But more recently, China has been up in arms over a trip to Taiwan that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been considering. There are rumors that the trip is in her private schedule and that she’s also invited fellow lawmakers on the trip.
So on Thursday, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping had a marathon call where they talked things out a bit. The call was more than two hours long, and according to the American readout, it focused on strengthening the relationship between the US and China, and both leaders are directing their staff to work on issues of healthcare and climate change. But the Chinese readout also included a warning against the US provoking China, referring to that trip Pelosi wants to make.
Publicly, everyone acknowledges that the trip to Taiwan is ultimately the Speaker’s choice, but there are rumors that pressure is being put on her and her office to either postpone or cancel the trip to avoid retaliation from China.
“The call was a part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the PRC and responsibly manage our differences and work together where our interests align,” read the White House readout of the call. “On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the 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.”
“China firmly opposes separatist moves toward ‘Taiwan independence’ and interference by external forces, and never allows any room for ‘Taiwan independence’ forces in whatever form,” read the Chinese readout of the call. “The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question is consistent, and resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. The public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this. The US should honor the one-China principle and implement the three joint communiqués both in word and in deed.”