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Biden and Xi Jinping clash over Taiwan, ban tech trade in phone call

Biden and Xi Jinping clash over Taiwan, ban tech trade in phone call

 


Biden and Xi Jinping clash over Taiwan, ban tech trade in phone call

Xi Jinping accused the United States of creating economic risks with Biden's sweeping ban on high-tech exports. (Deposit)

President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping clashed in a phone call Tuesday over U.S. trade restrictions on technology and Taiwan, but they sought to manage their tensions, with two senior U.S. officials heading to Beijing soon.

The phone conversation was the first direct interaction between the two leaders since a November summit in California that saw a marked thaw in tone, if not a long-term rivalry, between the world's two largest economies.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will leave Wednesday and travel to Guangzhou, a southern city emblematic of China's manufacturing powerhouse, and Beijing, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken expected in China in the coming weeks, officials said.

“Intense competition requires intense diplomacy to manage tensions, dispel misconceptions and prevent unintended conflict. And this call is one way to do that,” a U.S. official told reporters in a briefing.

The official said the discussions were not aimed at resolving differences and that the two leaders were open about sharp disagreements.

Xi accused the United States of creating economic risks with Biden's sweeping ban on high-tech exports.

“If the United States persists in suppressing China's high-tech development and depriving China of its legitimate right to development, we will not stand idly by,” Xi warned, according to Chinese state media.

Biden rejected his call, with the White House saying “the United States will continue to take necessary steps to prevent advanced American technologies from being used to undermine our national security, without unduly limiting trade and investment.”

Xi, China's most powerful leader in decades, has consolidated power at home and taken a tough approach in Asia, with a crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong and confrontations in recent weeks with the Philippines over the China Sea southern.

But U.S. observers see Xi as eager to ease friction with the United States as China faces economic headwinds.

At the California summit, he agreed to two key U.S. demands: limiting chemical precursors to fentanyl, the synthetic painkiller causing an overdose epidemic in the United States, and reestablishing dialogue between two armies to manage crises.

Xi could also see more opportunities for cooperation with Biden, who risks a rematch in November's presidential election with Donald Trump, who has made China his archenemy.

Biden preserved and even accelerated some of Trump's tough measures, but also identified areas of common interest, such as combating climate change.

Taiwan sounds the alarm

The White House said Biden pressed Xi to ensure “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait ahead of the May 20 inauguration of President-elect Lai Ching-te.

China has denounced Lai, a longtime proponent of a separate identity for the self-governing democracy claimed by Beijing, but U.S. officials have been cautiously optimistic that Chinese military measures ahead of the inauguration will not go further. beyond past practices.

In the phone call, Xi told Biden that Taiwan remained an “impassable red line” for China, according to state media.

The United States has expressed concern over rising Chinese actions against the Philippines in the South China Sea conflict.

The Biden administration, while maintaining dialogue with China, has emphasized support for its allies.

Amid the diplomatic turmoil with China, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will make a state visit to Washington next week, which will be joined by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos for three-way negotiations.

Blinken also visited the Philippines last month where he reaffirmed the United States' commitment to defending the ally.

Both Blinken and Yellen will make their second visit to China in less than a year, marking a return to more routine interactions between the powers.

Blinken's trip last year was the most significant trip by an American in five years, following the Covid pandemic and rising tensions under Trump.

This in-depth diplomacy contrasts with Biden's approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he has avoided since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Biden expressed concern about China's growing efforts to help Russia rebuild its military-industrial base, calling them a risk to European security, the White House said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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