United States President Joe Biden on Monday objected to China’s “coercive” and “aggressive” actions toward Taiwan, while his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping warned him of crossing Beijing’s “red line” on the island nation.
Biden and Xi made the statements at their first in-person meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. World leaders are gathering at the summit to address a range of global issues including climate change, inflation, and the war in Ukraine.
At the bilateral meeting, Biden told Xi that while the United States acknowledges that there is only one Chinese government under the One China policy, it is in the world’s interest to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The United Nations has supported the autonomy of Taiwan. It also provides the island nation arms under the Taiwan Act.
In August, two high-level United States officials visited the island nation, prompting China to launch military drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan.
China considers Taiwan as a province that is to be unified with the Chinese mainland.
Furthermore, it sees official visits by US authorities as lending support to pro-independence camps and giving credence to the idea of Taiwan as a sovereign nation.
On Monday, China reiterated its stance on Taiwan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that anyone who “seeks to split Taiwan from China will be violating the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation; the Chinese people will absolutely not let that happen”.
The statement added that the two sides should form a correct perception of each other’s domestic and foreign policies and strategic intentions.
Apart from Taiwan, Biden also raised human rights concerns about Beijing’s conduct in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong during the meeting.
The United States has vociferously criticised China for its human rights violations in the three regions.
Human rights groups have said that at least one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim minorities had been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.
In December, the United States added Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime to a list of “Chinese military-industrial complex companies”, for allegedly developing facial recognition programmes that can determine a person’s ethnicity. The technology focuses on identifying ethnic Uyghurs.