Biden’s first call to Beijing

U.S. President Joe Biden recently had a two-hour phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The White House chief expressed U.S. concern about the situation in Hong Kong and that of the Uighurs.

The White House reports that Biden then reiterated to Xi U.S. concerns about what he called “coercive and unfair economic practices,” and China’s “increasingly decisive actions” in the region “including with respect to Taiwan.” The two leaders also addressed issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and arms proliferation. Finally, Biden emphasized that his priority is to protect the safety, prosperity, health and way of life of American citizens.

Issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang are “internal affairs that concern China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” That’s what President Xi Jinping said in the first phone call he had with Joe Biden since Biden entered the White House. In the report by the Global Times, the nationalist tabloid of the People’s Daily, Xi added that the “United States should respect China’s fundamental interests and approach such issues with caution.” The clash between China and the US would result in “a disaster for both countries,” Xi Jinping stressed, saying that China and the US “should respect each other.” 

Xi, in the report by the state-run network Cctv, urged the restoration of a dialogue mechanism with the U.S. in order to handle open dossiers and prevent “misunderstandings and errors” in assessment. He called for a “constructive” dialogue.

US President Joe Biden announced a Pentagon task force on China that will deal with all aspects of relations between the US and the Asian giant, from human rights to technology. The task force, explained Biden during a visit to the Pentagon with Vice President Kamala Harris, will work to come up with recommendations that will help identify priorities and decisions to be made to fine-tune our relationship with China. 

Biden then had a meeting with newly appointed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “If America doesn’t get its act together on China,” the President said, “China will eat all of our lunch.”