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20 Dec, 2023 21:00

Xi revealed China’s plans for Taiwan to Biden – NBC

Beijing would like to reunify Taipei with mainland China peacefully, Xi Jinping reportedly told the US president in November
Xi revealed China’s plans for Taiwan to Biden – NBC

China is intent on reunifying with Taiwan, President Xi Jinping openly told US President Joe Biden during their summit in San Francisco in November, NBC reported on Wednesday. Beijing would still like to do it peacefully, the Chinese leader said at a meeting attended by a dozen American and Chinese officials, adding that Beijing also warned Washington against interfering in the process.

During the conversation, Xi was “blunt and candid” about the issue but did not sound “confrontational,” three former and current American officials told NBC. The Chinese leader also reportedly expressed his concerns about the candidates running for the position of the island’s president at the upcoming elections.

Beijing had previously reacted sharply to comments by some Taiwanese pro-independence politicians ahead of the vote scheduled for next month. China would allow “plenty of space” for peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but will not tolerate any separatist activities, Beijing insisted in November, warning that “Taiwan independence means war.”

Ahead of the November summit in San Francisco, Beijing also called on Washington to make a public statement supporting Taiwan’s peaceful reunification with China and opposing the self-governing island’s independence, NBC said. The White House refused to do so, it added.

When asked by Biden to respect the island’s electoral process during the summit, Xi replied by saying that peace is “all well and good” but Beijing is willing to move forward with resolving the Taiwan issue, the outlet claimed.

The Chinese president still dismissed US military claims that China was willing to seize Taiwan either in 2025 or 2027. An exact time frame for the process does not exist at all, he explained, according to the officials.

In February, CIA director William Burns claimed, citing US intelligence, that Xi had ordered the Chinese military to be ready to launch an operation against Taiwan by 2027. “Now, that does not mean that he’s decided to conduct an invasion in 2027, or any other year,” Burns added at the time, calling this information a testament to Beijing’s ambitions.

In November, Xi still maintained that China would like to reunify with Taiwan peacefully. In October 2022, the Chinese president did admit the possibility of Beijing attacking Taiwan if the island declared independence, but clarified that the threat of force was “directed solely at interference by outside forces and the few separatists seeking” to break away from China.

Biden himself praised the November summit as the “most productive” one in years. At the meeting, Washington and Beijing agreed to restore communication between their militaries. Relations between the two nations have soured, amid accusations from each that the other is stirring up tensions in the Asia-Pacific area and beyond.

In early December, China once again called on the US to stay clear of the Taiwan issue and stick to the One-China policy when Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke to Secretary of State Antony Blinken by phone. Beijing considers Taiwan to be an inalienable part of its territory under its One-China principle.

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