Xi warns Biden not to ‘play with fire’ ahead of Taiwan trip by Nancy Pelosi


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

In an announcement posted on the Chinese international ministry’s web site after the 2 leaders talked on Thursday, Xi did not immediately point out Pelosi’s attainable go to however mentioned his administration would “resolutely safeguard China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will 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 did not help independence for the self-ruled island, which Beijing claims as half of its territory.

In its personal account of the decision, the White House additionally prevented point out of Pelosi’s attainable go to. However it mentioned 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”.

It added that the decision lasted for greater than two hours, with Biden and Xi discussing a variety of points, and that the leaders directed their groups to observe up on matters coated within the dialog, significantly on local weather change and well being safety.

The name was the leaders’ first since March, when tensions have been additionally working 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 real authorities of China. Pelosi could be probably the most senior US lawmaker to go to Taiwan in 25 years.

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

“China US relations are pretty bad in all respects,” mentioned Shi Yinhong, a world relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing. He added that the People’s Liberation Army was seemingly to take “necessary countermeasures” if Pelosi proceeded with her trip, however mentioned China would nonetheless search to “avoid full and direct military 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 direction of the contested sea, the place China is embroiled in a collection of long-running territorial disputes with its maritime neighbours.

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

“If the US side insists on making the visit and challenges China’s red line, it will be met with resolute countermeasures,” Zhao mentioned. “The US must assume full responsibility for any serious consequences.”

Wen-Ti Sung, a China skilled at Australian National University, mentioned Beijing’s posturing within the run-up to Thursday’s name had been “tough but far from its toughest”, most likely reflecting that the Chinese Communist celebration management was nonetheless deciding how to react if Pelosi does not name off the go to.

Taiwan officers are apprehensive that any Chinese countermeasures would seemingly be directed in opposition to the island. But additionally they concern that Xi might be emboldened if Pelosi does postpone or cancel her trip.

“[Taiwan and the US] do not want to show weakness,” mentioned one Asian diplomat, who requested not to be recognized. “I don’t think there is anyone who wants 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 celebration congress in coming months at which he’s anticipated to safe an unprecedented third time period as head of the celebration, state and army.

Additional reporting by Xinning Liu and Maiqi Ding in Beijing

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