Biden presses Xi on HK, Xinjiang in first phone call
Joe Biden pressed Chinese leader Xi Jinping over human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang late Wednesday in their first call since the new US president took office on January 20, according to the White House.
Setting the stage for what could extend the contentious relationship between the two superpowers, Biden offered Xi his “greetings and wellwishes” for the Chinese people on the occasion of the Lunar New Year celebrations, the White House said in a statement.
But, laying his own groundwork for Washington-Beijing ties after four tumultuous years under predecessor Donald Trump, Biden immediately challenged his counterpart over China’s projection of power in the Indo-Pacific region, the crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and the oppressive treatment of millions of Muslim Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.
Specifically, Biden “underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan,” it said.
The two leaders also spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and weapons proliferation.
“Biden committed to pursuing practical, results-oriented engagements when it advances the interests of the American people and those of our allies,” the White House said.
In Beijing officials confirmed the phone call, with state media reporting simply that the two sides “exchanged in-depth views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues.”…..read more