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In first phone call to President Xi, Biden asserts importance of Indo-Pacific; Xinjiang human rights abuses

During the phone call, the US president affirmed his priorities towards protecting the American people’s security, prosperity, health, and way of life, the White House said

Published: Feb 11, 2021, 08.22 AM(IST)

US President Joe Biden spoke with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the White House said on the occasion of Lunar New Year.

Biden asserted the importance of free and open Indo-Pacific during his phone call with the Chinese president while underscoring his concerns about “Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices” including the “crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan.”

During the phone call, the US president affirmed his priorities towards protecting the American people’s security, prosperity, health, and way of life, the White House said.

It is Biden’s first phone call to President Xi since he took office on January 20.

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.

Biden told the Chinese president that his country is “committed to pursuing practical, results-oriented engagements when it advances the interests of the American people and those of our allies.”

Earlier on Wednesday, President Biden had announced setting up of a Pentagon task force to review US strategy on China. The US president called for an immediate review of the military-strategic approach to challenges posed by China while visiting the Pentagon for the first time since becoming the president.

“I will never dishonour you, I will never disrespect you,” the Biden told the US servicemen, adding, “I will never politicize the work you do.”

“So often, our armed forces and the Department of Defense staff are how the rest of the world encounters America,” Biden said. “But our country is safer and stronger when we lead not just with the example of our power, but with the power of our example.”

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