Biden Raises Concerns Over Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong; Xi Warns of Taiwan ‘Red Line’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House on Monday. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping talked about China’s practices in Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, among other areas of friction, the White House said in a statement, after the two held over three hours of virtual talks.

“President Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly,” the White House said.

He also told Xi that the U.S. remains committed to the ‘One China’ policy related to Taiwan, the White House said, and the two pledged to work together on energy and climate issues.

Xi in turn told Biden his country would have to take “decisive measures” if “pro-Taiwan independence” forces crossed a “red line,” Chinese state media said.

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own. Beijing has vowed to bring the island under Chinese control, by force if necessary.

The two leaders stressed their responsibility to the world to avoid conflict.

“It seems to me our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that our competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended,” Biden said at the start of the talks.

“Just simple, straightforward competition.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Xi said: “As the world’s two largest economies and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and the United States need to increase communication and cooperation.”

The official Xinhua news agency described the meeting as “frank, constructive, substantive and fruitful.”