WASHINGTON: In the midst of simmering tensions, US and Chinese Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met to discuss the Taiwan issue, during which the American leader stated that Washington strongly opposes any unilateral moves to change the island's status, while his Chinese counterpart warned that "whoever plays with fire will perish."
According to a White House statement citing a senior administration official, the two Presidents spoke over the phone for the fifth time since Biden took office in January 2021. The discussion lasted approximately two hours and twenty minutes.
The two leaders had "a frank and honest talk" about Taiwan, source said adding that "President Biden reaffirmed the US' commitment to our One China Policy, governed by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances." Washington does not recognise Taipei diplomatically under the One China Policy.
According to the official, Biden also emphasised "the US' opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo by either side, and commitment to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" during the call.
The two Presidents also emphasised the importance of "maintaining an open line of communication" on the Taiwan issue, despite differences that they have handled for over 40 years, according to the White House statement.
China's assessment of the call stated that Xi emphasised "the historical context of the Taiwan dispute is crystal obvious, as are the fact and status quo that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China." China vehemently opposes 'Taiwan independence' secession and external meddling, and never tolerates 'Taiwan independence' forces in any form.
Apart fromTaiwan, the two leaders discussed areas where the two countries might collaborate, with a special emphasis on climate change, health security, and counter-narcotics.