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Xi warns ‘old friend’ Biden about ‘playing with fire’

Chinese leader warns American counterpart that Taiwanese leaders depended on US for breaking away

The US president and his Chinese counterpart met virtually on Monday in the heat of increasing strains between the two countries.

According to a report in Deutsche Welle, a priority area for the talks was Taiwan, wherein the Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned his American counterpart Joe Biden that Taiwanese leaders depended on the US for breaking away. He further said that a few in the US wanted to utilize Taiwan to make China subservient.

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Xi compared this to playing with fire, adding that those who do this would be burnt.

Biden reiterated his support for the ‘One China’ policy, which does not recognize Taiwan but provides for unofficial ties and defence relations with it.

The two presidents also talked about other issues comprising Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, according to the White House. Biden broached US worries about China’s actions in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

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Both have known each other from the time when they were vice-presidents and have travelled with each other before; but they have yet to have an in-person interaction since Biden assumed office. Xi referred to Biden as his ‘old friend’ as the meeting began.

Xi highlighted the need for better communications given worldwide challenges like COVID-19.

Biden said ‘common sense guardrails’ need to be established to minimize direct confrontation between the two countries.

The meeting between the two leaders lasted more than three hours, unexpectedly. However prior to the meeting, expectations were low and analysts expected that the meeting would not lead to anything substantial.



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