US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi began talks Wednesday in Switzerland at a time of apparent rising tensions between the two powers.
Sullivan "raised areas where the United States and the PRC (People's Republic of China) have an interest in working together to address vital transnational challenges, and ways to manage risks in our relationship," the White House said in a statement shortly after talks concluded.
"Mr. Sullivan raised a number of areas where we have concern with the PRC's actions, including actions related to human rights, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and Taiwan. Mr. Sullivan made clear that while we will continue to invest in our own national strength and work closely with our allies and partners, we will also continue to engage with the PRC at a senior level to ensure responsible competition," it added.
US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping spoke late Tuesday about rising tensions regarding Taiwan.
"I've spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree … we'll abide by the Taiwan agreement," said Biden. "We made it clear that I don't think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement."
Formal recognition of China
The US formally recognized the People's Republic of China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, including recognizing Taiwan as part of mainland China.
The Zurich meeting came as the Taiwanese defense minister said Wednesday that China will be able to launch a "full-scale invasion of Taiwan by 2025," and warned that the Taiwan Strait is witnessing its "toughest situation" in the past four decades.
"It is the toughest situation I have seen in more than 40 years of my military life," Chiu Kuo-cheng told lawmakers, according to the daily South China Morning Post.
His comments came as China sent warplanes nearly 150 times into Taiwan's air defense identification zone in the past few days.
Washington is the main arms supplier for Taipei and has called Beijing's increased activity in the Taiwan Strait "provocative" and "destabilizing" actions.
China retorted by saying the "assertions of the US side have been violating the 'One China' policy and … sending an extremely wrong and irresponsible signal."
A group of French senators landed Wednesday in Taiwan for a five-day visit where they will meet top leaders of the island nation, including President Tsai Ing-wen./aa