Biden clash with China’s Xi over economy, Taiwan during call

WASHINGTON – Tenensions over Taiwan, Russia’s war in Ukraine and over the economy dominated a call between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday.

The planned call between the leaders – their first in more than four months – comes as the US seeks to regain a competitive edge over China and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi considers a visit to Taiwan.

The call lasted more than two hours, according to the White House, reflecting the long and thorny agenda.

Xi and Biden agreed to meet face-to-face at a time that has yet to be determined, a US official who briefed reporters after the call said.

The latest:

  • Catching up: Biden and Xi began their call at 8:33 am ET, the White House said, and ended at 10:50 am
  • Last call: They last spoke on March 18 and could see each other in person in November at the Group of 20 Summit, the G-20, in Indonesia.
  • Biden mum: Biden declined to take questions about the call from reporters at an economic event on Thursday afternoon.
  • White House readout: The White House released a statement on the call that said the leaders “discussed a range of issues,” including climate change and health security.
  • What the Chinese said: The Chinese government was the first of the two nations to readout the call between the leaders, saying in a statement that Xi discouraged Biden from focusing on the rivalry between the nations.
  • Competition legislation: One area of ​​disagreement appeared to be the computer chips bill that Congress passed Thursday. It seeks to reduce US manufacturing reliance on China, particularly for semiconductors.
  • Differences over Taiwan: In its statement, China indicated that Taiwan was a significant topic of discussion during the call, with Xi reiterating the nation’s firm opposition against independence.
  • What’s in dispute: Taiwan is a self-governed island that China considers part of its territory. The US has long tried to navigate a murky middle ground that aims to support Taiwan without provoking China.
  • No change in policy: The White House suggested that Biden warned Xi against taking any action that would upend the status quo.

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