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【Correction】What Was Discussed During the Biden-Xi Virtual Meeting?
During a video call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Joe Biden warned that if China were to aid Russia, then the United States would activate sanctions against China.
Biden Warned Beijing Not to Aid Russia, Xi Urges U.S.-Russia Dialogue
China Times, March 20, 2022
President Joe Biden of the United States and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a video call for one hour and 50 minutes on March 18. Biden’s core message is that if China provides “material support” to Russia, which is invading Ukraine, Beijing will pay a serious price for it. The White House also hinted that it would not rule out applying “secondary sanctions” if necessary. However, in response to American verbal calls over the past few days, Xi still did not express China’s attitude towards Russia, and continued to maintain ambiguity, which made the U.S.-China dialogue fail to bridge differences.
According to media commentary, the call with Xi has made Biden's "One China" policy increasingly clear, and there is less room for ambiguity for "Taiwan independence."
Biden Promises Xi "Four Nos"
China Times Editorial, March 19, 2022
In face of the historical turning point of the Russia-Ukraine War, President Joe Biden of the United States and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a video call on March 18. Their talk focused on the Ukraine crisis, the U.S.-China strategic competitive relationship and even the reconstruction of new world orders. China and the United States have their own goals and strategic thinking, not to mention other major differences. Nevertheless, the fact that Biden and Xi are still willing to engage in a dialogue in such difficult times naturally has its own significance. After several rounds of talks, the Biden administration’s “One China” policy gradually became clearer, leaving less room for ambiguity regarding “Taiwan’s independence”.
According to a commentator, President Xi should act as a leader of a responsible major power and mediate the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine.
United Daily News)
Xi Should Step Forward to Mediate Russia-Ukraine Crisis
By Chao Chun-shan
United Daily News, March 18, 2022
Some have described the post-Cold War world turning a blind eye to escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the present war which has caused a huge global disaster.
Ukraine punched above its weight, and President Volodymyr Zelensky, having an actor background, plays the role of a “tragic hero” in this war drama. Although he has received external support in many ways, he also finds himself in a situation of fighting a lone battle. President Vladimir Putin of Russia is the initiator of this war, hence the target of public criticism. Sanctions from all sides are not only isolating his country, but also jeopardizing his ruling power.
In order to combat inflation and high housing prices, the Central Bank broke its practice of not raising interest rates for 10 years and followed the United States in raising Taiwan's rate by 0.25 percentage points.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
March 14: A single-seat Mirage 2000 fighter jet of the Air Force crashed off the coast of Taitung in the morning. Flight officer Huang Chung-kai reported a mechanical failure and was saved himself by parachuting. The Air Force ordered the grounding of 54 existing Mirage fighters for inspection. The exact cause of the failure can only be determined after analyzing the pilot's description and salvaging the wreckage.
March 16: There is hearsay about a leaked classified document from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) that Chinese President Xi Jinping considered fully taking over Taiwan by the fall of 2022 to support his re-election as general-secretary of the Communist Party. But after the war between Russia and Ukraine erupted, the opportunity to invade Taiwan disappeared.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu stated that no matter if China was planning to attack Taiwan or not, the people must be ready to defend themselves at any time.
March 16: The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced proposed adjustments to co-payment in the National Health Insurance system. In the future, fees for medical examination, drugs, and emergency services in major hospitals will increase. Patients will incur 20 percent cost on some pharmaceuticals, and the fee cap will be raised to NT$300 (about US$10.50). The proposed changes are scheduled to take effect in May and impact 14.5 million people.
March 18: The Central Bank decided to raise interest rates by 0.25 percentage points to curb inflation, ending seven consecutive freezes. Taiwan's rate hike is a first in more than a decade and follows the recent rate increase by the U.S. Federal Reserve System.
March 18: Hours before the video conference between President Joe Biden of the United States and Chinese President Xi Jinping, China's aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait, and the USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) followed and monitored the entire process. A spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense stated that the military's joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems are fully aware of the dynamics of mainland Chinese aircraft and ships in the sea and airspace around the Taiwan Strait, so as to ensure national security.
March 18: The seventh Our Ocean Conference (OOC) will be held April 13 and 14 in Palau and attended by representatives from hundreds of countries and international and regional organizations. Minister Chang Tzi-chin of the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan, is among the few government officials invited to speak.
The United States, a co-organizer, reportedly "advised" Taiwan to avoid using its official name and symbols of sovereignty such as the national flag.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Taiwan will actively participate in the OOC on the premise of safeguarding national dignity and based on the principles of professionalism, pragmatism, and contributions and also seek the best arrangement.
March 20: The International Day of Happiness is observed. According to the World Happiness Report 2022 released by the United States, Finland placed first among 146 countries and regions for five consecutive years, while Taiwan ranked 26, the first in East Asia. But the table listed Taiwan as "Taiwan, Province of China."
The United States ranked 16th, United Kingdom 17th, Singapore 27th, Japan 54th, South Korea 59th, China 72nd, and Hong Kong 81st.