Biden and Xi discuss Taiwan amid spike in cross-strait tensions

US President Joe Biden has said that he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan after Beijing sent a record number of military aircraft into the self-ruled island’s air defence zone (ADIZ) and officials in Taiwan said ties were at their worst in 40 years.

Asked by a reporter about “China’s provocation over Taiwan”, Biden said on Tuesday that he and Xi had discussed the issue.

Responding to Tsai’s article, China’s state-run Global Times accused the president and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of turning Taiwan’s democracy into an “extreme ideology”.

“Their fate is bound to be a catastrophe when they attempt to separate Taiwan from the (sic) China,” the Communist Party newspaper said in an editorial that also poured scorn on the US and the island’s western allies.

“The further the DPP authorities go down the path in colluding with external forces, the closer they move to their tomb.There is no force in the world whose will to “defend Taiwan” is stronger than China’s will to fight against secession and achieve reunification. No force dares or is willing to fight to the death against the world’s second largest economy, as well as a nuclear power, in order to prevent China’s reunification.”

While the United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with the island it is bound by law to protect Taiwan and is Taipei’s biggest source of military and political support. Washington has no specific ‘agreement’ with Beijing on cross-strait relations.

Zurich talks

China has blamed the US for the increased tensions, with the two economic giants at odds over not only Taiwan but issues including trade, Hong Kong, the situation in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang and the coronavirus.

Earlier, the US announced that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would meet China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Switzerland on Wednesday for their first face-to-face discussion since acrimonious talks in Alaska in March, which also involved US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The White House said in a statement that the meeting follows up on Biden’s call with Xi on September 9 “as we continue to seek to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.”

 

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