Otago Daily Times

Xi, Biden have phone call


Washington: United States President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpar­t Xi Jinping yesterday held their first telephone call as leaders, Biden saying a free and open IndoPacifi­c was a priority and Xi warning confrontat­ion would be a ‘‘disaster’’ for both nations.

Biden also underscore­d his ‘‘fundamenta­l concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair practices, its crackdown in Hong Kong, reported human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasing­ly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan’’, the White House said.

Xi told Biden confrontat­ion would be a ‘‘disaster’’ and the two sides should reestablis­h the means to avoid misjudgmen­ts, according to the Chinese foreign ministry’s account of the call.

The Chinese leader maintained a hardline tone regarding Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan, which Xi told Biden were matters of ‘‘sovereignt­y and territoria­l integrity’’ that he hoped the US would approach cautiously. — Reuters

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