Biden eyes talks with Xi in China soon, casts doubt on Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Maryland, July 20 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden plans to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, by the end of the month at a time of simmering tensions between the countries over Taiwan and trade.

“I think I will speak to President Xi in the next 10 days,” Biden told reporters upon returning from a climate-related trip to Massachusetts.

The long-discussed call between the two leaders, their first in four months, would come at a crucial time given tensions over Taiwan’s status, and as the Biden administration considers reducing import duties on goods in from China to help reduce inflationary pressures on the United States. consumers.

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The United States calls China the main strategic rival and says high-level engagement is important to keep the difficult relationship stable and prevent it from inadvertently descending into conflict. Last month, Washington pushed NATO to adopt a strategic document labeling China a security challenge.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Biden appeared to cast doubt on a trip reportedly planned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan next month.

“I think the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now, but I don’t know what its status is,” Biden said.

Beijing said on Tuesday it would respond with ‘strong measures’ if Pelosi visits the island claimed by China, and that such a visit would ‘seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’. . Read more

Pelosi’s office declined to say whether the tour was continuing, citing security concerns. The State Department called the trip “hypothetical.” The travel plans were reported by the Financial Times, which also said the White House had expressed concerns.

China views the democratically-ruled island as its own territory, and the issue is a constant irritant in relations between Beijing and Washington.

The Biden administration has repeatedly spoken of its “rock-solid” commitment to the island’s security.

As recently as Tuesday, US military ships were transiting the Taiwan Strait, angering Beijing, which sent fighters across the strait’s midline this month following a visit to Taipei of US Senator Rick Scott.

On trade, the Biden administration is at odds with China over honoring its commitments to existing agreements.

But rising inflation has prompted consideration of possible tariff relief, including on the “Section 301” tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump, covering some $370 billion in Chinese imports.

People familiar with the tariff deliberations told Reuters that Biden is also considering whether to link the removal of some tariffs to a new investigation into China’s industrial subsidies and its efforts to dominate key sectors, such as the semiconductors. Such an investigation could lead to more tariffs. Read more

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Reporting by Jeff Mason and Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Costas Pitas and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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