Biden and Xi exchange warnings on Taiwan

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a video call on Thursday that lasted more than two hours. They clashed in Taiwan. Xi warned Biden to “play with fire”.

Biden and Xi spoke for the first time since March. White House officials said the call was part of efforts to “responsibly manage” differences and work together “where interests align.”

“President Biden emphasized that United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to alter the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Strait of Taiwan,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary.

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials said Xi told Biden that China “strongly opposes separatist moves toward Taiwan independence and interference by outside forces.” Xi said “resolutely safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of more than 1.4 billion Chinese.”

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi complicated relations by proposing a visit to Taiwan. White House officials advise members of Congress on such trips. “We advise them on the geopolitical assessment, on the national security assessment, and it’s up to them to make that decision,” Jean-Pierre said.

President Biden said he was told by military officials that a visit would not be “a good idea”. White House officials fear the trip could unnecessarily provoke Chinese officials.