President Biden speaks to China’s leader for first time since taking office

World

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden spoke to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the White House said, his first direct contact with the leader of the world’s second-largest economy since winning the November presidential election and taking office last month.

President Biden pressed Xi on trade, human rights and global health security, according to The White House.

“President Biden underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan,” The White House said in a readout of the call.

It was also the first call between Xi and a U.S. president since the Chinese leader spoke with former President Donald Trump in March last year. Since then, relations between the two countries have fallen amid trade disputes and other diplomatic issues.

White House readout of call

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Xi Jinping of China. The President shared his greetings and well wishes with the Chinese people on the occasion of Lunar New Year. President Biden affirmed his priorities of protecting the American people’s security, prosperity, health, and way of life, and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific. President Biden underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan. The two leaders also exchanged views on countering the COVID-19 pandemic, and the shared challenges of global health security, climate change, and preventing weapons proliferation. President Biden committed to pursuing practical, results-oriented engagements when it advances the interests of the American people and those of our allies.

The White House

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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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