The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied the White House’s claim that President Biden spoke of “genocide” and “forced labor” during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told media on Thursday that the president has raised ethical concerns about forced labor and ethnic genocide in China.
The Chinese MFA completely denied the alleged conversation, saying: “According to the White House press secretary, ‘genocide’ and ‘forced labor’ were brought up in the conversation between Chinese and US presidents last night. That is disinformation.”
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A similar message was pushed separately in which the MFA called the alleged conversation “pure lies” and “false information”.
“Pure lies,” MFA spokesman Lijian Zhao said of the White House claim. “The White House spokesman said the issues of genocide and forced labor were mentioned in the call last night, which is false information.”
China has been accused of falsely detaining up to 3 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, as well as carrying out forced sterilizations and abortions. Chinese authorities claim that camps in the region are “re-education facilities” that combat Islamic extremism.
Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in December, a bipartisan piece of legislation that prohibits the importation of goods made through forced labor into the Xinjiang region.
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Biden held his longest meeting with Xi on Thursday morning amid tensions between the two world powers.
According to a Chinese readout of the call, Xi warned Biden against defying Beijing’s will towards Taiwan.
The call — the fifth between Biden and Xi since Biden took office — began at 8:33 a.m. ET and lasted two hours and 17 minutes, the White House said.
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Chinese government officials recently demanded that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., cancel a planned trip to Taiwan, saying it is a betrayal of Sino-US foreign policy agreements.
“The call was part of the Biden administration’s efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the People’s Republic of China and to responsibly manage our differences and work together where our interests align. the White House said after the call. “The call follows the two leaders’ meeting on March 18 and a series of talks between senior US and PRC officials.”
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Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, is an island nation off the coast of mainland Asia. Taiwan has declared its independence from the People’s Republic of China and has claimed continued rule of pre-revolutionary China.
The People’s Republic of China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and mainland China. The Chinese military has regularly sent planes to the area to test Taiwan’s air defense zone.