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Xi Warns Biden Against 'Playing With Fire' Over Taiwan in Marathon 2-Hour Call

"Those who play with fire will perish by it," the Chinese president was quoted as saying to his US counterpart.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, 28 July, warned his United States (US) counterpart, Joe Biden, against "playing with fire" over Taiwan in a marathon phone call that lasted for two hours and 17 minutes.

"China firmly opposes separatist moves toward 'Taiwan independence' and interference by external forces, and never allows any room for 'Taiwan independence' forces in whatever form," a statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted President Jinping as telling President Biden.

The statement further said that those who "play with fire will perish by it," and that China hoped the US would be "clear-eyed" about this.
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'US Policy on Taiwan Remains Consistent'

On the other hand, a statement from the White House said that President Biden made it clear to his Chinese counterpart that the US policy on Taiwan was clear.

"On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," the statement read.

This phone call, the fifth to be conducted over the last few months, comes as the long-standing dispute over the sovereignty of Taiwan continues unabated. While China has long held that Taiwan is a part of its territory, and has not ruled out the use of force to control it if necessary, the West has consistently rejected their claims.

The last time the two leaders held a phone call was on 18 March this year.

These recent barbs from the Chinese president come amid criticism over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's potential visit to Taiwan, which China slammed as being highly "provocative."

"If the US insists on going its own way and challenging China's bottom line, it will surely be met with forceful responses," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said while addressing the press earlier in the week.

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