Alex Brandon, Eraldo Perez/AP
BEIJING – President Xi Jinping warned against meddling in China’s dealings with Taiwan during a phone call with his US counterpart Joe Biden, with no sign of progress on trade, technology or other irritants including Beijing’s opposition to the trip. He did not show the possibility of a senior American lawmaker to this country. An island democracy that considers its mainland as its territory.
According to a Chinese government summary of Thursday’s unusually long three-hour call, Xi also warned of a split in the world’s two largest economies. Businessmen and economists warn that such a shift, driven by China’s industrial policies and U.S. restrictions on technology exports, could hurt the global economy by reducing innovation and raising costs.
Meanwhile, Xi and Biden are considering a face-to-face meeting, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Xi has been invited to Indonesia for the G20 summit in November, making it a potential venue for a face-to-face meeting.
The Chinese government gave no indication that Xi and Biden had discussed possible plans for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan, which the ruling Communist Party says has no right to have foreign relations. But Xi ruled out “interference by foreign forces” that might encourage Taiwan to make permanent its decades-old de facto independence.
“Resolutely protecting China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people,” the statement said. “Those who play with fire perish by it.”
The sharp language of Xi, who usually tries to appear above political controversy and makes positive public comments, suggests that China’s leaders may believe that Washington has not understood the seriousness of previous warnings about Taiwan.
Taiwan and China separated in 1949 following a civil war that ended with a Communist victory on the mainland. They have no official relationship, but billions of dollars in trade and investment are linked. Both sides say they are one country but disagree on which government has the right to national leadership.
A Defense Department spokesman said ahead of Thursday’s call that Washington “should not arrange for Pelosi to travel to Taiwan.” He said the ruling party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, would take “strong measures to neutralize any foreign interference”.
Referring to Beijing’s position that the mainland and Taiwan are one country, Xi urged the United States to “respect the principle of one China.” In contrast, the United States has a “one China policy” that says Washington does not take a position on the issue but wants to resolve it peacefully.
This statement states: Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China.
The statement cited Biden as saying that the United States does not support Taiwan’s independence.
Coverage of the talks in China’s heavily state-controlled media on Friday was limited to repeating the government’s statements.
Pelosi has not yet confirmed whether she will visit Taiwan, but if she does, the California Democrat would be the highest-ranking elected US official to visit the country since then-President Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Beijing criticized Gingrich for saying the US would defend Taiwan if China attacked, but did little else in response to his three-hour visit to the island.
Since then, China’s position vis-à-vis Taiwan has become more difficult as the mainland’s economy has grown to become the second largest after the United States. The ruling party has invested hundreds of billions of dollars to build fighter jets and other advanced weapons, including “killer carrier” missiles, which are believed to be designed to prevent the US Navy from helping to defend the island.
The controversy over Pelosi’s possible trip comes in a year when Xi, who took power in 2012, is more sensitive in Beijing and is expected to try to break with tradition and be granted a third five-year term as party leader.
Xi, who wants to restore China’s rightful historic role as a world leader, has promoted a more assertive policy abroad. The PLA has sent an increasing number of fighter jets and bombers to fly near Taiwan in an attempt to intimidate its democratically elected government.
The United States has no formal relationship with Taiwan, but has extensive trade ties and informal political connections. Washington is required by federal law to see that Taiwan has the means to defend itself.
According to a government statement, Xi called for cooperation to reduce the risk of economic stagnation, coordinate macroeconomic policies, fight against Covid-19 and “reduce regional tensions.”
He also warned against separating or separating the US and Chinese economies for strategic reasons.
Traders and industry analysts have warned that global industries could be fragmented into separate markets with incompatible products, as China pressures its own companies to develop its own technology standards and U.S. restrictions on China’s access to technology that Washington considers it a security risk. This may slow innovation and increase costs.
“Efforts to unbundle or disrupt supply chains in defiance of constitutional law will not help strengthen the U.S. economy,” the statement said. “They only make the world economy more vulnerable.”