On Monday, Nov. 15, U.S. President Joe Biden had a virtual meeting with the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, to discuss various issues pertinent to the tense relationship between the two nations. Surprisingly, one Chinese state media reported that Xi threatened to literally ‘burn’ Biden if he insisted on defending Taiwan’s independence.
While some Chinese state media reports, which the regime uses to ‘communicate’ its views, said Xi was ‘happy’ to talk to his ‘old friend,’ others were more aggressive.
The state-run Xinhua news agency published an article titled “China will be compelled to take resolute measures should ‘Taiwan independence’ forces cross red line” in which it quotes the Chinese leader stating during the meeting with Biden that attempts by “some Americans” to use Taiwan independence to “contain” China’s growth are the cause of the new wave of tensions between the two countries.
“Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire,” Xi said. “Whoever plays with fire will get burnt.”
He added: “… should the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence’ provoke us, force our hands or even cross the red line, we will be compelled to take resolute measures. On this question bearing on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, there is no room for compromise.”
It is not unusual for Chinese state media to use this kind of rhetoric to intimidate their rivals. However, the alleged words quoted by Xinhua seem to exceed what one world leader would say to another, especially when referring to him as an “old friend.”
The White House, for its part, published a summary of the call on its website where it did not mention the alleged intimidation of the Chinese leader but did assure that Biden touched on sensitive issues for Beijing such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
“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 summary said.
Biden also assured that the United States maintains its interest in Beijing allowing free transit in international waters, where it has been increasingly aggressive in claiming sovereignty over Japanese islands and Philippine territory.
The U.S. president reiterated his intention to maintain the ‘diplomacy of ambiguity’:
“On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States remains committed to the “one China” policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances, and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
In other words, while claiming not to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign, it pledges to defend its status as an independent country.
While some Chinese media described the meeting as positive, with both leaders agreeing to compete but not to the point of conflict and Biden assuring that the U.S. is not seeking a new “cold war,” the relationship between the two countries is at its most tense.
Before ending his tenure as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared that the Chinese regime’s abuses against the Uighurs in Xinjiang province constituted genocide.
The Biden administration reaffirmed the statement drawing the ire of the Chinese Communist regime.
In a recent interview, Taiwan’s president confirmed to the media that U.S. troops are training the Taiwanese military, demonstrating once again the U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan beyond statements in the press.