World

Biden speaks with Xi Jinping, voices concern about crackdown in Hong Kong, Xinjiang

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the White House said, his first direct contact with the leader of the world’s second-largest economy since winning election in November and taking office last month.
It was also the first call between Xi and a US president since the Chinese leader spoke with former President Donald Trump in March last year. Since then, relations between the two countries have plunged to their worst level in decades.
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 statement.
Biden and Xi “exchanged views on countering the Covid-19 pandemic, and the shared challenges of global health security, climate change, and preventing weapons proliferation,” the statement said.
The US president also told Xi the United States wanted to preserve “a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said.

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