Biden claims that he and Xi Jinping of China have agreed to uphold the Taiwan agreement.

As tensions between Taipei and Beijing have risen, US Vice President Joe Biden stated on Tuesday that he had discussed Taiwan with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that they had agreed to uphold the Taiwan agreement.

“I’ve spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree … we’ll abide by the Taiwan agreement,” he said. “We made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.”

Biden appeared to be referring to Washington’s long-standing “one-China policy” under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, and the Taiwan Relations Act, which makes clear that the U.S. decision to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing instead of Taiwan rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.

The comments to reporters at the White House — made after Biden’s return from a trip to Michigan touting a spending package – come amid escalations in the Taiwan-China relationship.

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool/File Photo

China claims Taiwan as its own territory, which should be taken by force if necessary. Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy, blaming China for the tensions.

Taiwan has reported 148 Chinese air force planes in the southern and southwestern part of its air defense zone over a four-day period beginning on Friday, the same day China marked a key patriotic holiday, National Day.

The United States urged China on Sunday to stop its military activities near Taiwan.

“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Sunday.

Biden also appeared to be referencing a 90-minute call he held with Xi on Sept. 9, their first talks in seven months, in which they discussed the need to ensure that competition between the world’s two largest economies does not veer into conflict.

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