‘Don’t play with fire’ – China’s leader Xi Jinping warns Joe Biden over Taiwan interference
Chinese President, Xi Jinping has sent a subtly warning to US president, Joe Biden over the US interference in their dealings with Taiwan.
According to reports, the two leaders warned each other over Taiwan during a phone call that lasted more than two hours on Thursday, July 28.
US President, Joe Biden told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that the US strongly opposed any unilateral moves by the Chinese military to change the status of the island.
A read out by Beijing said Xi had told Biden to abide by the one-China principle, warning him that “whoever plays with fire will get burnt”.
During Thursday’s phone call, Biden and Xi also discussed arranging a possible face-to-face meeting, a senior Biden administration official said, describing the bilateral as “direct” and “honest”.
In a brief summary, the White House said it was part of efforts to “responsibly manage differences” and work together where “interests align”.
In a much longer readout of the call, Beijing said many of their interests did align. But it blamed the US for the deteriorating relationship, criticizing the Biden administration’s view of China as a “primary rival” and Washington’s “most serious long-term challenge.”
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that must become a part of the country – and has not ruled out the possible use of military force to achieve this.
Under the one-China policy, Washington does not recognize Taipei diplomatically. But the US does sell weapons to the democratically self-governed island so that it can defend itself.
Tensions over the issue have increased ahead of a rumoured plan for US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan.
The state department says Pelosi has not announced any travel, but China has warned of “serious consequences” if she were to proceed with such a visit including the use of military force.
Last week, Biden told reporters “the military thinks it’s not a good idea”, but his White House has called Chinese rhetoric against any such trip “clearly unhelpful and not necessary”.
Pelosi, who is next in line to the presidency after the vice-president, would be the highest-ranking US politician to travel to Taiwan since 1997.