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Biden raises concerns with Chinese president in first official phone call

Category: World

Date: 2021-02-11T06:40:24+0000
Biden raises concerns with Chinese president in first official phone call

Shafaq News/ Joe Biden, in his first conversation as president with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, spoke of his concern about China’s “coercive and unfair economic practices” as well as human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, according to a White House account of their telephone call.

Biden also expressed misgivings about the country’s growing restrictions on political freedoms in Hong Kong and “increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan,” in the call, which took place Thursday morning Beijing time.

Biden, who wished Xi a happy Lunar New Year, was “committed to pursuing practical, results-oriented engagements when it advances the interests of the American people and those of our allies,” the White House said.

The two presidents, according to the readout of the call, “exchanged views on countering the Covid-19 pandemic, and the shared challenges of global health security, climate change, and preventing weapons proliferation.”

China’s official state news agency Xinhua, meanwhile, cited Xi as saying China and the U.S. should re-establish mechanisms for dialogue so that there would be an accurate understanding of each other’s policy intentions and to avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation.

The Xinhua report said foreign affairs officials from both sides may deepen communication on bilateral relations and major international and regional matters. More contact may be carried out among economic, financial, law enforcement and military bodies, Xinhua said. But it also repeated that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues were China’s domestic affairs, and said the U.S. should respect China’s core interests and act with caution.

The call between the leaders of the world's two largest economies, coming three weeks after Biden's inauguration, follows a review of core elements of U.S. policy toward China during the Trump administration and extensive consultation with America's allies, the officials said. One of them described Biden as being "in a strong position" to have a substantive conversation with Xi.

Officials said the call was aimed at signaling a new U.S. strategy that maintains a core tenet of the Trump administration's policy — intense competition — but takes a dramatically different approach.

Source: Bloomberg + CNBC

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