US-China Relations

Telephone conversation between Biden and Xi, signals change in US policy towards China

KATHMANDU: For the first time since taking office, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have held a telephone conversation. Talks between the world’s two largest economies have taken place amid rising tensions over a number of economic and strategic issues.

According to CNN, the talks focused on issues related to climate change and nuclear proliferation, including economic and military cooperation. Biden also raised issues of trade inequality, technology and human rights.

Biden was also concerned about human rights abuses against the Chinese Uyghur Muslim community and the Hong Kong movement. “Biden believes that these issues are global, not just of value to the US,” a White House official told CNN.

The White House said in a statement that Biden also discussed security, prosperity, peace and Indo-Pacific issues for US citizens. There is also tension between the US and China over the Indo-Pacific issue.

The statement added that the Biden administration would review its policy targeting trade inequality with China and increased military activity in Asian countries, including the Pacific.

Biden also urged Jinping to accept the US Indo-Pacific strategy. However, Biden told Xi that the Trump administration’s ban on Chinese trade would remain in place for now. Biden, referring to the passage of a trade war with China with serious consideration, indicated that no immediate decision would be made. Biden has also told Xi that the United States will now adopt a broader China policy as relations with China grow.

On Wednesday, Biden announced that the US Department of Defense had set up a task force to work out a US strategy for China.

Chinese state media, Global Times, also confirmed that telephone talks had taken place between the two world leaders. The online version of the Times confirmed the talks but did not say what was discussed.

Xinhua quoted President Xi Jinping as saying that the US-China dialogue mechanism should be restored. Xi also pointed out the need to end misunderstandings between the two countries, Xinhua said.

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