ANALYSIS-Despite Xi’s ‘fire’, call with Biden avoided Taiwan escalation

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By Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters)U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping managed largely to avoid escalatory rhetoric on Taiwan in a Thursday call, suggesting that neither aspect – preoccupied with financial woes at residence – desires a recent disaster throughout the Taiwan Strait.

Xi’s warning to Biden towards “playing with fire” over Taiwan, although vivid, largely mirrored his remarks from the 2 leaders’ video assembly in November.

“The portion of the conversation on Taiwan was extremely similar to the last conversation. Xi’s warnings did not escalate,” stated Bonnie Glaser, a China professional on the German Marshall Fund of the United States, referring to Beijing’s readout of the call.

Taiwan comprised one in every of three elements of the greater than two-hour dialogue, in accordance with a senior U.S. official who briefed reporters. The others largely targeted on Russia’s warfare in Ukraine and areas of attainable U.S.-China cooperation, corresponding to local weather change.

The official declined to say if Biden and Xi instantly broached the subject of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s yet-to-be-confirmed go to to the island, as an alternative highlighting that Biden had conveyed that Washington maintained its long-standing “one-China policy” below which it acknowledges Beijing, not Taipei, diplomatically.

“My sense is the two leaders talking directly probably lowered the temperature somewhat relative to what it would have been without the meeting,” stated Jacob Stokes, an Indo-Pacific safety fellow on the Center for a New American Security.

“But the structural drivers of tension in the bilateral relationship remain, as does the prospect of a visit by Speaker Pelosi to Taiwan,” he stated.

Beijing has issued escalating warnings about repercussions ought to Pelosi go to Taiwan, which says it’s dealing with growing Chinese army and financial threats.

Pelosi, a Democrat like Biden, is a long-time critic of Beijing, notably on human rights.

A go to by the House speaker, as quickly as August in accordance with some studies, could be a dramatic, although not unprecedented, present of U.S. assist for the island. Republican Newt Gingrich was the final House speaker to go to Taiwan in 1997.

Some consultants fear such a transfer at a time of fraught ties might spur a serious disaster and even unintended clashes.

But others have downplayed down the concept that China and the United States are on the cusp of calamity over Taiwan.

“There are nightmare fantasies out there. Maybe they’ll shoot down Speaker Pelosi’s plane. Maybe they’ll invade the island while she’s there. For crying out loud, we’re not in a Tom Clancy novel,” stated Dean Cheng, a China professional on the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Cheng stated China was extra prone to prone to enhance army flights over the median line dividing the greater than 100-mile (160-km) extensive Taiwan Strait that separates China from Taiwan, or circumnavigate the island to ship a message in regards to the attain of its forces.

China has grown way more highly effective militarily and economically since 1997 and the White House says the administration has been in contact with Pelosi’s workplace to ensure she has “all the context” she must make choices about her journey.

Craig Singleton, senior fellow on the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ China Program, stated in a be aware to media that as Washington and Beijing confront severe financial headwinds, each Biden and Xi will face intensifying home stress to stabilize the bilateral relationship.

“So far, there are few indications in Chinese official statements, nor online or domestic media, which would suggest that China is considering more serious military action at this time, although that could change,” he stated.

(Reporting by Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom and Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Richard Pullin)

((michael.martina@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the writer and don’t essentially replicate these of Nasdaq, Inc.



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