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Biden reiterates importance of cross-strait peace in latest talks with Xi

04/03/2024 04:17 PM
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Image: Reuters
Image: Reuters

Washington, April 3 (CNA) United States President Joe Biden reiterated the importance of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait, in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Tuesday, which drew a statement of gratitude from the Taiwan government.

The phone discussion between Biden and Xi was their first direct communication since an in-person meeting in Woodside, California last November.

The two leaders "held a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, including areas of cooperation and areas of difference," according to a White House readout released after the call.

"They reviewed and encouraged progress on key issues discussed at the Woodside Summit, including counternarcotics cooperation, ongoing military-to-military communication, talks to address AI-related risks, and continuing efforts on climate change and people-to-people exchanges," the White House said.

Meanwhile, Biden "emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea," it said.

Biden also raised concerns over the People's Republic of China's (PRC) support for Russia's defense industrial base and the PRC's "unfair" trade policies and non-market economic practices, according to the readout.

In a briefing after the call, U.S. officials said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would travel to China in the coming weeks, following a similar visit by U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen this week.

The nearly two-hour call between the leaders preceded a scheduled White House meeting next week between Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., as China continues to flex its military power, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, Xi was quoted by China's state-run Xinhua News Agency as saying that there are three "overarching principles that should guide China-U.S. relations in 2024," namely, peace, stability and credibility.

He again stressed that the Taiwan question is the "first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations," according to the report.

"In the face of 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities and external encouragement and support for them, China is not going to sit on its hands," Xi was quoted as saying in the Xinhua English-language report.

The Chinese leader also called on the U.S. to "translate President Biden's commitment of not supporting 'Taiwan independence' into concrete actions," the report said.

Commenting on the call between the two leaders, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed appreciation and sincere thanks to President Biden for again publicly declaring the U.S.' resolute support for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

The U.S. has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to Taiwan, which remains rock solid, principled and bipartisan, MOFA said, noting that Laura Rosenberger, chairwoman of the American Institute in Taiwan, has also reiterated that stance during her current visit to Taiwan.

As China's military provocations and gray-zone tactics against Taiwan continue to intensify, Taiwan welcomes and appreciates the international community's continued call for peace and security across the Taiwan Strait, MOFA said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Joseph Yeh)


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