Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has warned his US counterpart, Joe Biden, in a telephone conversation that the United States must respect Beijing's 'One China' policy and "not play with fire” on the issue of Taiwan. This warning relates to a potential visit by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.
A visit by Pelosi would be a strong statement of support for Taiwan. Officially, Washington has no diplomatic ties with Taipei and the US follows Beijing's 'One China' policy. But under US legislation, the US is obliged to support democratically governed and Western-oriented Taiwan and help defend the island against a more assertive Beijing.
Xi is strongly opposed to such a visit to what he considers to be a Chinese province and he made this clear in the fifth telephone conversation between himself and Biden.
Biden and Xi discussed geopolitical tensions and economic challenges at their first virtual meeting since March, the White House reported. China has not condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and this has become a further source of tension between Washington and Beijing.
According to the White House, the two presidents have instructed their staffs to arrange a follow-up to today's conversation. "Especially on topics such as climate change and public health”, the statement said.