Joe Biden, Xi Jinping hold ‘candid’ discussion: All you need to know

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping had held a ‘candid and constructive discussion’ covering various topics, both cooperative and conflicting, according to the White House. This marked their first phone call since their summit in California in November 2023. The discussion lasted 105 minutes, focusing on cooperation and disparities.

“President Biden spoke by phone today with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. The purpose of the call was to build on the two leaders meeting in Woodside, California back in November of last year. Over about an hour and 45 minutes, the two leaders held a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, including areas of cooperation and areas of differences,” White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby told reporters during a press conference.

1) Russia-Ukraine war

During the discussion, Biden raised concerns over China’s support for Russia’s defence industrial base and its impact on European and transatlantic security.”He raised concerns over the PRC’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base and its impact on European and transatlantic security, and he emphasised the United States’ enduring commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the White House reported.

2) TikTok divestment

“If the United States insists on suppressing China’s high-tech development and depriving China of its legitimate right to development, we will not sit idly by,” Xi warned, according to Chinese state media.

Biden also refused to back down on TikTok, the blockbuster Chinese-owned app that Congress is threatening to ban unless it changes hands, with Kirby saying Biden insisted he wanted to protect Americans’ data security.

Biden told Xi the US “will continue to take necessary actions to prevent advanced U.S. technologies from being used to undermine our national security, without unduly limiting trade and investment,” according to the White House.

Kirby said Biden broached U.S. concerns about popular social media app TikTok, which faces proposed U.S. legislation that would force its Chinese-owner ByteDance to divest over data security and disinformation concerns.

“He made it clear to President Xi that this was not about a ban of the application, but rather our interest in divestiture so that the national security interests, and the data security of the American people can be protected,” Kirby said.

3) Taiwan

The White House said President Biden emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

China has denounced Lai, a longtime supporter of a separate identity for the self-ruling democracy claimed by Beijing, but US officials have been cautiously optimistic that China’s military moves ahead of the inauguration will not go beyond past practice.

In the phone call, Xi told Biden that Taiwan remains an “uncrossable red line” for China, according to state media.

4) South China Sea

The United States has voiced growing alarm over rising Chinese moves against the Philippines in the dispute-rife South China Sea.

5) Trade policies

“Biden also raised continued concerns about China’s unfair trade policies and non-market economic practices, which harm American workers and families,” Kirby said.

The leaders engaged in a nearly two-hour call, characterised by Kirby as “business-like,” preceding upcoming meetings next week between Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos. This occurs as China demonstrates its military strength.

-With agency inputs

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Published: 03 Apr 2024, 07:22 AM IST