Biden call with China’s Xi raises human rights, trade

President Joe Biden's first official call with Xi Jinping Wednesday addressed issues related to trade and Beijing's crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, along with other human rights concerns.

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World News

February 11, 2021 - 9:47 AM

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with then-U.S Vice President Joe Biden inside the Great Hall of the People on Dec. 4, 2013, in Beijing. On Feb. 10, 2021, Biden spoke with Xi for the first time since becoming president. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images/TNS)

Joe Biden had his first call as president with Xi Jinping, pressing the Chinese leader about trade and Beijing’s crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong as well as other human rights concerns.

The two leaders spoke Wednesday just hours after Biden announced plans for a Pentagon task force to review U.S. national security strategy in China and after the new U.S. president announced he was levying sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime  following this month’s coup in the southeast Asian country.

A White House statement said Biden raised concerns about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair economic practices.” Biden also pressed Xi on Hong Kong, human rights abuses against Uighur and ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang province, and its actions toward Taiwan. 

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