President Joe Biden speaks to Department of Defense personnel at the Pentagon in Washington. AP
Joe Biden on Wednesday held his first call as president with Xi Jinping, pressing the Chinese leader about trade and Beijing’s crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong and other human rights concerns.
The two leaders spoke just hours after Biden announced plans for a Pentagon task force to review US national security strategy in China and after the new US 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 Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses against Uighur and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, and its actions toward Taiwan.
The trade spat has turned into a war of words since President Donald Trump blacklisted Huawei last week over concerns the telecom giant's equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage.
Xi reiterated during the call that cooperation was the only choice and that the two countries need to properly manage disputes in a constructive manner, according to an account of the conversation reported by Chinese state television.
On Thursday, Biden told a bipartisan group of US senators at a meeting on the need to upgrade US infrastructure the United States must raise its game in the face of the Chinese challenge.
These included Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; Jo?o Lourenço, President of Angola; Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana; Mohamed Hussein Robley, Prime Minister of Somalia, and His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Former media executive Indrani Mukerjea — the prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora — added she was feeling better but had not made any future plans after getting enlarged on bail — in her 10th attempt since September 2016.
"There is no point in talking about how hard life is," said A.P.D. Sumanavathi, a 60-year-old woman selling fruit and vegetables in the Pettah market in Colombo, the commercial capital, on Friday.