When US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping meet next week – their first face-to-face meeting since Mr. Biden took office in 2020 – Taiwan is expected to be at the top of the agenda.
The eagerly anticipated encounter will take place at a time when tensions between the two nations are at an all-time low.
Beijing’s assertions regarding Taiwan’s independence and its growing assertiveness in Asia have fueled this.
In response, the US has set restrictions on who can access computer chip technology.
This has hurt China’s export-driven economy, which relies on technology to produce and market products ranging from electric cars to phones.
Given the recent spike in tensions and rhetoric, the world – and America’s Asian allies such India, Japan and Australia – will be closely watching the meeting scheduled to take place on Monday in Bali ahead of the G20 Summit.
Mr Xi has spent most of the pandemic in China and only recently began travelling overseas again.
“I’m sure we’ll discuss Taiwan… and what I want to do with him when we talk is lay out… what each of our red lines are,” Mr Biden said at a press conference on Thursday after the White House confirmed the meeting.
This way they can “determine whether or not they conflict with one another… and if they do, how to resolve and how to work it out”, he said.
However, he also added that he was not willing to “make any fundamental concessions” about the US’ policy on Taiwan.
Beijing sees the self-governing island as its own territory that must be united with the mainland. But Taiwan sees itself as distinct.
Mr Biden, unlike previous US presidents, has repeatedly said the US would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
But the White House has always rolled back his comments, insisting that Washington’s stance of “strategic ambiguity” – under which it does not commit to defending Taiwan but also does not rule out the option – remains unchanged.
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