Xi warns of Taiwan ‘red line’ while Biden takes up Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong in virtual talks


Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden that the latter’s administration is “playing with fire” when it comes to Taiwan, in more than three hours of virtual talks between the two world leaders on Tuesday (Nov. 16).

Biden meanwhile, pressed his Chinese counterpart about human rights, as they talked about China’s practices in Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, among other areas of friction, the White House said in a statement.

“President Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly,” the White House said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

He also told Xi that the US remains committed to the “One China” policy related to Taiwan, the White House said, and the two pledged to work together on energy and climate issues.

Xi, in turn, told Biden his country would have to take “decisive measures” if “pro-Taiwan independence” forces crossed a “red line”, Chinese state media said.

He warned Biden that US support for Taiwanese independence would be “like playing with fire”, state media reported.

“Taiwanese authorities have repeatedly tried to ‘rely on the US for independence’,” Xi was quoted as saying by state media agency Xinhua, adding: “Some people in the US intend to ‘use Taiwan to control China’. This trend is very dangerous and is like playing with fire, and those who play with fire will get burned.”

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own. Beijing has vowed to bring the island under Chinese control, by force if necessary.

The two leaders stressed their responsibility to the world to avoid conflict.

“It seems to me our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that our competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended,” Biden said at the start of the talks.

“Just simple, straightforward competition.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Xi said: “As the world’s two largest economies and the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the United States need to increase communication and cooperation.”

The official Xinhua news agency described the meeting as “frank, constructive, substantive and fruitful”. (Source: CNA)