WASHINGTON – Washington does not see any change in China’s tone on Taiwan, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC on Thursday when asked about media reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden that Beijing will reunify Taiwan with China.
NBC News and other media outlets reported on Wednesday that Xi told Biden in a recent summit in San Francisco that Beijing will reunify Taiwan with mainland China but that the timing has not yet been decided.
Biden and Xi met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco in mid-November in what was their first face-to-face meeting in a year, with the high-stakes diplomacy aimed at curbing tensions, including over Taiwan, between the two superpowers.
“I don’t see any change. I was in the meeting. President Xi didn’t say anything to us that he hasn’t said before,” Raimondo said in the CNBC interview.
“It was a good discussion between the two world leaders. It was frank, it was positive, it was direct. Taiwan came up but no new news,” the U.S. commerce secretary added.
Biden and Xi agreed during their meeting to open a presidential hotline and resume military-to-military communications, showing some tangible progress.
Xi urged Washington to stop sending weapons to Taiwan and support China’s peaceful “reunification” with Taiwan, Chinese state media said at the time.
Biden said he stressed the need for peace in the Taiwan Strait. A US official added that Biden argued to maintain the status quo and for China to respect Taiwan’s electoral process. In a press briefing after the summit, Biden called Xi a dictator.
The US is Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier even though Washington does not formally recognize its government, maintaining official relations only with Beijing which claims the island as its own territory. — Reuters