Biden, China’s Xi hold phone call on Taiwan, AI, trade

President Biden held a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time since July 2022 on Tuesday, the White House announced.

The White House has yet to offer details about the call, but Biden and Xi were expected to discuss Taiwan, narcotics, artificial intelligence, and China’s support for Russia against Ukraine. The White House described the conversation as merely a “check-in” between the two leaders.

Biden was not expected to bring up TikTok or the origins of COVID-19. Biden currently supports legislation in Congress that would ban TikTok unless it is sold to a company that is not beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby is expected to answer questions regarding the call during a press conference later Tuesday.

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Biden last spoke with Xi in person in November, their first public interaction since Biden took to referring to Xi as a “dictator” in June of last year. Biden used the term after the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy craft on the East Coast after allowing it to traverse the continental U.S.

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Biden again referred to Xi as a dictator in November last year as conversation around Taiwan heated up.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying issued a blunt warning at the time about America’s friendly relations with Taiwan, referring to the “Taiwan question” as “the most important and most sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations.”

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“The U.S. side should take real actions to honor its commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence’, stop arming Taiwan, and support China’s peaceful reunification. China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable,” she wrote in a post on X.

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Biden has stated repeatedly in the past that the U.S. would intervene if China were to invade Taiwan, but the White House has walked back that statement each time.

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