China warns US about ‘playing with fire’ on Taiwan

China warns US about 'playing with fire' on Taiwan
The leaders spoke to each other virtually. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned US president Joe Biden that encouraging the independence of Taiwan would be “playing with fire”.

The leaders were engaged in a virtual summmit and it was the most substantial since Mr Biden took office in January.

Both Biden and Xi emphasised the two men’s personal relationship and the summit was an attempt to ease tensions.

But the leaders could not escape one of the most sensitive topics: the self-ruled island of Taiwan.

China considers Taiwan as a breakaway province and urging to be reunified with the mainland one day.

The US recognises and has formal ties with China, but Washington has also pledged to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of an attack.

China’s state-run Global Times said President Xi Jinping blamed recent tensions on “repeated attempts by the Taiwan authorities to look for United States support for their independence agenda as well as the intention of some Americans to use Taiwan to contain China”.

It said: “Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt.”

The White House said President Biden “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.

Despite the strong words on Taiwan, the meeting began with Biden and Xi greeting each other warmly, with Mr Xi saying he was happy to see his “old friend” Mr Biden.

The US president said the two had “always communicated with one another very honestly and candidly,” adding “we never walk away wondering what the other man is thinking”.

The Chinese president said the two countries needed to improve “communication” and face challenges “together”.

You may read: What Biden and Xi want from virtual summit