The US president and the Chinese leader speak by phone for the first time since the Democrat was sworn in. The US president conveys his “concern” about human rights abuses and coercion against Taiwan
- Global crisis China, Joe Biden’s greatest challenge
On both sides of the phone, the voices sounded familiar. This is what happens when the two people speaking know each other well. What transpires from that conversation, on the other hand, varies depending on whether one prefers to trust more in what they say from Washington or from Beijing. According to White HouseThe important thing is that Joe Biden has become serious and has reproached Xi Jinping for all his repressive policies. From the other side, in a calmer tone, the conclusion is that Joe Biden has engaged with Xi Jinping in promoting the bilateral relations in a more positive direction. For China, the rest of the controversial issues are secondary.
What for the president of the United States are “human rights abuses in Xinjiang province against minor Uighur, repression in Hong Kong and coercion to Taiwan “, for the president of China these are” different points of view on certain issues. “The curious thing is that these are statements collected in two communiqués of the same conversation. The first world economy wants launch the message that the hard line with the rival country will continue with the new president. The second world economy appears more cautious, but will soon use another spokesperson to imply that the coronavirus was created in a military laboratory in the United States. the geopolitical game is working so far in 2021.
The leaders of the two powers spoke on Thursday for the first time since Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. The call was made from Washington. Send a congratulations on the Chinese New Year That begins this Friday was the best excuse to pick up the phone.
“He spoke with President Xi to offer good wishes to the Chinese people for the Lunar New Year. He also shared concerns about Beijing’s economic practices, human rights abuses, and Taiwan’s coercion. I told him to work with China when it benefits the Chinese. American people, “Biden wrote on Twitter.
Relationships between leaders start with an advantage. Or disadvantage, depending on which side you look at. They both know each other well from their stages as vice presidents. The first time they saw each other was on a Biden trip to China in 2011. Then, in the midst of a global economic crisis, the American shared a private dinner with Xi in Chengd city.
The discussions they had centered on Washington’s commitment to guaranteeing its largest creditor that its investments in the US public debt were insured. But the press of both countries highlighted the good harmony between them. There were many disputes during the Obama Administration, but Biden and Xi had a good relationship. For the former, his colleague was a “pragmatic and strong” leader. Some words that seem to have been left far behind when the Democrat, in his last references to Xi during the electoral campaign, defined him as a “bully”.
The call between the presidents came a few hours after the American announced that he had created a specific group of 15 people in the Pentagon to review the US military and national security strategy in China. Also, before the conversation, a senior official from the US State Department met with a representative from Taiwan, the island with a democratically elected government but which for China is still one of its provinces. Therefore, during the telephone conversation, Xi said that the issues that concern Taiwan (like Hong Kong and Xinjiang) are “internal issues related to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.”
Regarding the island, a couple of weeks ago, Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, warned that “Taiwan independence means war.” His statement came a few days after 13 Chinese fighters flew over Taiwan’s so-called Defense Area Identification Zone (ADIZ), which deployed its anti-missile systems. Right afterwards, the Biden Administration promised to support the Democratic Government of Taipei. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure,” he said. Ned Price, spokesman for the US State Department.
In addition, Price assured that Washington remains committed to self-government on the island. That was Taiwan’s main concern after the strong support they received from the outgoing Trump administration. But Biden soon showed his commitment. At his investiture, one of the invited people was Hsiao Bi-khim, the representative of Taiwan in the United States. It was the first time since 1979 that an envoy from the Asian nation attended Washington for a takeover.
The fronts of rivalry
Joe Biden has come to the White House inheriting a new Cold War with China on too many fronts and in the midst of a global crisis in which his greatest rival is in full swing: China is the only major economy that grew in 2020, has controlled the pandemic, signed the largest trade agreement in the world with 15 Asian countries and an investment agreement with the European Union.
There are even many voices of analysts who assure that, due to the pandemic, China’s economy will surpass the United States before 2028. The positive figures have been on the side of Beijing these months as it gained muscle from events such as the assault on the Capitol. While in Washington each other fought, Beijing boasts stability.
Biden is going to have to deal with all the open fronts that he has with a country with which he cannot even agree to condemn a coup like the one that took place on February 1 in Burma. While Beijing described the Burmese Army’s takeover as “a major Cabinet reorganization,” for Washington it was a military coup that had “ended a decade of democracy” and Biden warned that his administration would again impose sanctions on the Asian country. .
What has been seen these weeks by the Biden Administration is that it is not going to be as “soft” as Trump said with respect to the policy with China. The new secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, shares the term “genocide” to describe China’s crackdown on the Uighur minority in Xinjiang. On another front, Japan, Biden himself, in a January 28 call with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, pledged to “defend” the Senkaku Islands, controlled by Japan, but claimed by Beijing as its own.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism