United States President Joe Biden warned China on Tuesday of "repercussions" for human rights abuses in Hong Kong and against the Uighurs in Xinjiang, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
"The U.S. must speak up on human rights violations and there'll be repercussions for China and he knows that," Biden said of China's President Xi Jinping, when pressed on the issue during a town hall event hosted by CNN in Wisconsin, a swing state Biden narrowly won.
The U.S. president raised concerns about China's "coercive and unfair economic practices, the clampdown in Hong Kong, human rights violations in Xinjiang, and the country's increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan," Forbes quoted a readout of the first official phone call between Biden and Xi released by the White House.
Biden didn't elaborate on what the "repercussions" entail. U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken was more expressive, suggesting tight controls on import of products made using forced labor in China and export of products to the country that could be used to persecute people.
The Trump administration had announced new prohibitions on the import of certain products and technologies from China which it said were made using forced labor in Xinjiang.
Biden said the U.S. will reassert its global role in voicing support for human rights, adding he would work with the international community to get China to protect them.
In his first call with Xi, Biden discussed tackling the proliferation of weapons, climate change and the global health crisis with the Chinese leader.
Biden indicated he was willing to work with China when it promotes the interests of the American people and other U.S. allies.
Still, Biden suggested he may add "strategic vision" to Trump's disorganized trade policy, and adopt a more aggressive stance towards China's perceived unfair trade practices.