Thu 11 February 2021:
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday held his first call as president with Xi Jinping, pressing the Chinese leader about trade and Beijing’s crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong as well as other human rights concerns, according to the White House.
Biden used Wednesday’s call to raise concerns about Beijing’s crackdown on activists in Hong Kong and about its policies affecting Muslims and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. In the final hours of the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the Chinese Communist Party had committed crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other minority groups.
Setting the stage for what could be a contentious relationship between the two superpowers, Biden offered Xi his “greetings and well wishes” for the Chinese people on the occasion of the Lunar New Year celebrations, the White House said in a statement.
“I told him I will work with China when it benefits the American people,” Biden posted on Twitter after the call.
In the call Biden told Xi that his priorities were to protect the American people’s security, prosperity, health and way of life, and to preserve “a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the White House said in a statement on the call.
Specifically, Biden “underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan,” it said.
The two leaders also spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and weapons proliferation.
China’s state broadcaster CCTV struck a mostly positive tone about the conversation, saying Xi acknowledged the two sides had their differences, and those differences should be managed, but urged overall cooperation.
CCTV said Xi pushed back against Biden’s concerns on Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, saying the issues are China’s internal affairs and concern Chinese sovereignty. He warned, “The U.S. should respect China’s core interests and act with caution.”
VACCINE PASSPORTS FOR
BIG VENUES THIS MONTH
HAT WITH DNA EVIDENCE
PREVIEWS IN HONG KONG
PRICE CUT SIGNALS
DEMAND SLIP IN ASIA
LEADER GEELANI CHARGED
UNDER ANTI-TERROR LAW
JHARKHAND ASSEMBLY AS BJP
PROTESTS NAMAZ ROOM
ESCAPE FROM HIGH-SECURITY
HAVE 1.2BN SURPLUS
COVID VACCINE DOSES
OF MASS DECEPTION
Biden and Xi know each other well and have had frank exchanges.
Biden played host to then-Chinese vice president Xi during his 2012 visit to the United States. Biden used that visit to get a read of Xi and was blunt at moments, even raising concerns about Chinese theft of intellectual property and human rights abuses during a luncheon toast.
The following year, when Biden visited China, he publicly criticized Beijing for refusing to affirm that it would renew the visas of American journalists and for blocking the websites of American-based news media sites.
Photo: (US Department of State – wikimedia)
FOLLOW INDEPENDENT PRESS:
TWITTER (CLICK HERE)
FACEBOOK (CLICK HERE)
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!