Biden Calls Chinese President; Airs Concern Over Unfair Economic Practices, Crackdown In Hong Kong

President Joe Biden called his Chinese counterpart and expressed concern over Beijing’s “coercive and unfair economic practices”, and crackdown in Hong Kong.

It was Biden’s first call to President Xi Jinping since assuming office three weeks ago. In the call, the U.S. President also raised Washington’s displeasure over human rights abuses of Muslim minority Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

A White House readout of Biden’s call with Xi Jinping said the President shared his greetings and well wishes with the Chinese people on the occasion of Lunar New Year.

It added that “President Biden affirmed his priorities of protecting the American people’s security, prosperity, health, and way of life, and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific”. Biden underscored his fundamental concerns about the Chinese government’s “increasingly assertive actions in the region,” including toward Taiwan.

Pentagon had deployed Navy’s guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait last week. It was the first time since Biden became the President that a US warship entered the sensitive waterway between China and Taiwan.

The White House said the two leaders also exchanged views on potential areas of cooperation, such as countering the COVID-19 pandemic, and the shared challenges of global health security, climate change, and preventing weapons proliferation.

“President Biden committed to pursuing practical, results-oriented engagements when it advances the interests of the American people and those of our allies,” the statement added.

Biden’s call came amid reports that he is planning a comprehensive review of his predecessor’s policies toward China. The Trump administration’s approach towards Beijing has been aggressive, which resulted in four years of trade and tariff war between the two economic superpowers.

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