but Taiwan still divides the US and China


It was supposed to break the ice and it did. Three and a half hours of interview, more than expected, to outline the path of a possible future cooperation on the main international dossiers. Because the US and China have “a responsibility towards the world and not only towards their respective peoples”, he stressed Joe Biden; and they can “collaborate for the common cause of peace and development,” according to the Chinese president Xi Jinping. A declaration of intent that represents a good starting point, but which, however, will have to pass the test of the field in order not to transform into what in other times and in other places the activist for the climate Greta Thunberg he defined only a “bla bla bla”. And certainly there is no lack of reasons for friction between China and the US. Above all, the differences regarding Taiwan and respect for human rights, especially in the Xinjiang region of China.

In front of their respective delegations, to channel the conversation along the lines of d├ętente, Biden has chosen to start from the fight against climate change, which in recent days has seen the US and China find an agreement at COP26 in Glasgow. The challenge to the ongoing climate crisis on the planet has become of an “existential nature”, explained the tenant of the White House, underlining the “important role” that the two countries play with regard to climate warming and for the solution to this global challenge. A message received by Xi, who considers the fight against global warming “a new highlight of cooperation between China and the United States”.

And so it should also be in terms of health, according to the Chinese leader. At a time when the coronavirus pandemic is experiencing a new resurgence in many countries around the world, Xi has indeed asked his American counterpart to establish “a cooperation mechanism for global public health and disease prevention and control. transmissible “and” the promotion of further international exchanges and cooperation “in this area.

As for economic and commercial issues, Xi stressed that they should not be “politicized”. But on this terrain the distances still remain large. The United States has long been aiming for a wide-ranging negotiation with Beijing, which includes the issue of customs tariffs, patents and state aid. Biden “was clear about the need to protect American workers and industries from China’s unfair trade and economic practices,” reads the White House report on the meeting. But all the attempts made up to now to channel dialogue with Beijing have failed, and nothing suggests that there may be a turnaround in the short term. Xi Jinping, on the other hand, explained to his counterpart that China will have to focus in the near future on “internal policies”, but at the same time it should “share a large part of the international responsibilities”.

A “sharing” which, however, in Beijing they see closely linked to the posture of the international community, and of the United States in primis, regarding dossiers on which China does not allow interference: respect for human rights, the question of the Uighurs in Xinjiang, the status of Taiwan and Hong Kong. And it is precisely on these issues that Biden and Xi have once again registered the greatest distances. The US president expressed “concern for China’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong”, “as well as for human rights in general”.

A cry of alarm that Xi did not pick up, relaunching the Chinese position. The Chinese leader has indeed urged the United States not to test his country’s determination on the Taiwan issue. “We are patient and willing to fight for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity,” Xi told Biden. “But China will be forced to take firm measures if the forces for” Taiwan independence “” provoke, force their hand or even cross the red line, “he explained.

Biden reiterated that the guiding principle of the US remains that of “One China”, a diplomatic formula that implies the non-recognition of Taiwan, questioned by Donald Trump. For Beijing, this is enough to say that Biden does not support the independence of the island, as immediately stated by the state television. The White House had to circulate clarifications that the president “did not say anything particularly new”.

Furthermore, during their meeting, Biden and Xi also exchanged views on the main regional challenges, including North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran. As specified by the White House, Biden and Xi also discussed ways to continue the dialogue on a series of dossiers, with the US president stressing the importance of “substantial and concrete” conversations to avoid what no one wants, at least in words: a war between the two greatest world powers. “We must ensure that our competition does not slip, voluntarily or not, into a conflict,” said the US president at the opening of the interview. And at least on this, Xi Jinping seems to agree with his “old friend” Biden.

(by Corrado Accaputo – Askanews)


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