Biden, Xi hold talks on tensions over Taiwan trade dispute

In their phone conversation on Thursday, President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed the escalating tensions surrounding Taiwan, the lingering trade conflict, and their efforts to keep the superpower rivalry in check. The White House reported that the call began at 8:33 in the morning in Washington (1233 GMT). After the call ended, a representative suggested a statement will be released.

It’s become harder to hide the growing hostility between the two nations, even though this was Biden’s fifth conversation with Xi since taking office a year and a half ago. With little indication of resolution on either front and Beijing and Washington still locked in a trade war, open hostilities over Taiwan are becoming more likely. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, “Tensions over China’s strong, coercive behavior in the Indo-Pacific are expected to be a major topic of discussion.”

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives and a close supporter of Biden, may visit the island, which Beijing says is a part of China, but which has a separate democratic government. The self-governing island’s status in the bilateral superpower relationship has changed from a long-term tolerable irritant to a perilous running sore as a result of growing animosity between the United States and China over Taiwan. The risk for a military conflict is highlighted by the standoff between Washington and Beijing over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan next month. Pelosi claims the Pentagon has informed her that if she goes, her plane “will get shot down.”

President Joe Biden and Chinese leader XI JINPING will need to reaffirm their commitment to the existing accords controlling the U.S.-China relationship at the risk of possibly risky domestic political repercussions in order to reverse Taiwan’s slide into conflict risk status.

Danny Russel, former assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs and Vice President for international security and diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute said, “We’re smack in the middle of a security dilemma where both sides are convinced that they’re the victim, and unless we can begin to dilute the security dilemma where neither side can resist a tit-for-tat retaliation and one-upmanship, then we remain in an extremely high-risk status” “Our starting point is that Beijing essentially promised that it would seek to resolve the Taiwan issue peacefully, that Taipei basically promised that it would not close the door on the possibility of unification or declare independence, and the U.S. promised that it would not support Taiwan independence.”

Image Joe Biden Gage Skidmore Flickr

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Xi Jinping

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