President Biden is expected to address the growing tensions between the U.S. and China in his upcoming call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the White House said on Wednesday.
National Security Counsel spokesman John Kirby told reporters that “obviously there’s friction and tension” that he expects the president will address, as well as areas where the U.S. can cooperate with China.
The discussion will likely touch upon tensions over Taiwan and the greater Indo-Pacific region, and the U.S.-China economic relationship.
“All of that, I would expect the president to bring up,” Mr. Kirby said.
“There is an awful lot in the bilateral relationship between the United States and China for these two leaders to talk about,” he said. “The president wants to make sure the lines of communication with President Xi remain open because they need to be.”
The two leaders, who last spoke in March just weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will reportedly speak on Thursday, though the White House has yet to confirm a specific date.
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The call will mark president Biden’s fifth talk with his Chines counterpart since taking office.
Relations between the two countries have soured even further in recent days in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reported intent to visit Taiwan during Congress’ upcoming August recess.
China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the planned phone call between the two leaders on Wednesday but raised the stakes even further over Mrs. Pelosi’s visit.
“If the U.S. insists on going its own way and challenging China’s bottom line, it will surely be met with forceful responses,” Chines Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters. “All ensuing consequences shall be borne by the U.S.”
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, has yet to confirm her plans to travel to Taiwan since it was first reported by the Financial Times last week.
Beijing has warned that the trip, which would be the first by a sitting House speaker in over two decades, would cause serious harm to U.S.-China relations.
The White House has refrained from commenting on the trip, noting that the speaker, who is second in the constitutional line to succeed the president behind only the vice president, makes her own travel decisions.
— This article includes wire reports.