Biden, China’s Xi discuss face-to-face meeting as tensions rise over Taiwan

A call between the US and Chinese presidents lasted for more than two hours, according to the White House.

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US President Joe Biden held his fifth phone call since taking office with his Chinese counterpart on Thursday, with Biden stressing that Washington has not changed its policy on Taiwan and the two leaders discussing a potential in-person meeting.

The call lasted for more than two hours, according to the White House.

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“On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

Chinese state media quoted Xi Jinping as telling Biden, “Those who play with fire will only get burnt.”

Asked about these comments, a senior US official did not deny them and noted that Xi used similar language during his call with Biden last November. “I’m not going to get into parsing the various metaphors that the PRC regularly tends to use on these issues,” the official told reporters in a phone call.

The White House did not mention this line, but said the call was part of the Biden administration’s efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the two countries “and responsibly manage our differences and work together where our interests align.”

Biden and Xi also “discussed the value of meeting face-to-face and agreed to have their teams follow up to find a mutually agreeable time to do so,” the official said, adding that the talks were “candid.”

The official said that regional and global issues were discussed, including climate change, health security and wrongfully detained Americans.

Read more: Pelosi set to depart on Asia trip, Taiwan stop still unclear

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