Xi tells Biden not to play with fire in Taiwan – 7/28/2022 – World

While the international community is witnessing a new phase of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Cold War 2.0 between the United States and China has again reached a peak of tension that forced leaders Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to have their fifth conversation since they lived together. as heads of state.

The reason this time was Taiwan, due to the possibility of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting the island that China considers a rebellious province. In a call lasting more than two hours, Xi repeated words used at a virtual summit in November, saying that Americans could get burned if they played with fire while supporting Taiwanese independence sentiments.

The deputy plans to visit the island in August. If carried out, it will be the visit by the highest American official since Republican Newt Gingrich, who held the same position as Pelosi, went to Taipei in 1997.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that such a trip by the number 2 in the American line of succession amounts to a violation of sovereignty. “Those who play with fire only get burned, I hope the American side sees that clearly,” Xi told Biden, according to Chinese media.

According to the White House, Biden said he stands by his Taiwan policy. In other words, formal respect for the idea of ​​”one China” that guides relations between countries, but also support for Taipei. She said she rejects “unilateral initiatives” that would destabilize the region, which suits both Xi and Pelosi. In the US Congress, he works on the hypothesis that the trip will take place, according to the American media.

Biden himself acknowledged last week that the trip was “a bad idea”. The Democratic leader faces low popularity and midterm elections in November, when House and Senate seats will be renewed, and all he doesn’t need is a new crisis to manage.

The same goes for Xi, who is due to be reappointed in the same month as the US election for an unprecedented third five-year term as leader of the Chinese dictatorship, but is being challenged by a series of problems, ranging from difficulties in maintaining his Covid policy zero in the country to systemic economic risks, which has led to rumors of internal dissent in the Communist Party.

On the other hand, having the popular Taiwan issue in the spotlight helps bring public opinion into something different. Earlier this month, Beijing faced a rare public rally in Henan, where residents went to a Bank of China branch to protest over problems accessing their deposits.

The US has been on an escalation of support for Taiwan since Cold War 2.0 against the rise of China was launched by former President Donald Trump in 2017. Since then, trips by US officials have become frequent, but from lower levels. , The island. Invariably, attacks are met with incursions by Chinese military aircraft or naval exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

Such military actions have intensified over the past two years independently as well, making Taiwan consider that the Chinese invasion could come at any time. There are practical doubts, given the difficulties of the terrain, as the annual Han Kuang training, underway in Taiwan, seeks to explain.

But a blockade is more doable, although it involves the same constraint for Beijing, which is the US commitment to defend Taipei, risking a war between the powers. In the Chinese press, more incendiary nationalists even advocated that the country shoot down a plane with Pelosi, which obviously does not seem to be on the agenda. But that the visit will bring a military response, that seems unavoidable.

In recent days, reinforcements of fighter jets from the Russian Flanker family were revealed at the Longtian base in Fujian, a province that targets Taiwan across the strait and gives its name to the country’s new aircraft carrier.

Despite the diplomatic disposition, the US kept its military musculature up to date. The US Navy also announced on Thursday the deployment of the aircraft carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan to the South China Sea, another focal point of the rivalry with Beijing.

The message is clear: the American position that the sea, which has 85% of the area claimed by the communist dictatorship, is basically a place for free navigation. Chinese claims are based on the militarization of islets and atolls, which the UN ruled out as valid in 2016.

The bulk of China’s imports and exports pass through those waters, and Beijing sees the move by the US and allies as a way to keep the door open to blockades in the future.

In the Chinese press, speculation arose that the Ronald Reagan could be moved to cross the Taiwan Strait during an eventual visit by Pelosi, to deter more overt actions by the Chinese. One would assume that Biden wouldn’t do that, given that he opened the door to talk to Xi.

Tensions, however, remain high. Xi is an ally of Putin and has already been admonished by Biden not to provide the Russian with a line of economic oxygen. It was no use: China only increased purchases of hydrocarbons from Russia, helping to keep Moscow above the waterline even under sanctions.

The case of Ukraine is pointed out by the US as a model of what can happen to Taiwan, although the cases are quite different. The economic interdependence between the US and China is also an important factor in reducing risk.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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