US, China trade Taiwan warnings ahead of Biden-Xi summit
The virtual meeting of presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping comes against a backdrop of rising tensions -- in part over Taiwan, a self-ruling democracy claimed by Beijing, but also over trade, human rights and other issues.
In a phone call Friday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss preparations for the summit, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns over Beijing's "military, diplomatic, and economic pressure" on Taiwan.
Wang warned of the dangers of US actions that might seem supportive of "Taiwan independence."
Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but an act of Congress passed that year requires the United States to provide weapons to Taiwan for self-defense.
"Any connivance of and support for the 'Taiwan independence' forces undermines peace across the Taiwan Strait and would only boomerang in the end," Wang told Blinken, according to a readout of the call released by China on Saturday.
Washington has repeatedly signaled its support for Taiwan in the face of what it has described as Chinese aggression.
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And while the world's top two emitters of greenhouse gases unveiled a surprise agreement last week to work together on climate change, Washington and Beijing have indicated they will not give ground on flashpoint issues.
Xi last week warned against the return of Cold War-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.
Biden and the Chinese leader have talked by phone twice since the veteran Democrat moved into the White House.
The US president had hoped to meet Xi at a recent G20 summit in Rome, but the Chinese leader has not traveled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and instead agreed to virtual talks by the end of the year.