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President Biden at the White House on Monday. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told reporters Tuesday evening that he discussed Taiwan with China's President Xi Jinping in their phone call last month.

Why it matters: Beijing's growing aggression toward Taipei is drawing fresh concerns of a war in the region. Asked by a reporter Tuesday for comment on the provocation, Biden said he had "spoken with Xi about Taiwan," per a pool report. "We agree, we will abide by the Taiwan agreement," Biden said.

Between the lines: That's an apparent reference to a longstanding diplomatic understanding that the U.S. recognizes Beijing as the "sole legal government of China," without clarifying the United States' position on Taiwan's sovereignty, Bloomberg notes.

  • The Chinese government sent a record 145 warplanes into the self-governing island's air defense zone during a four-day period this month.

The bottom line: "We made it clear that I don't think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement," Biden said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of French senators arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday for a five-day visit, during which they will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen.

  • Chinese government officials had urged the lawmakers to cancel the visit, AP notes.

The big picture: Taiwan separated from China in 1949 amid the Chinese Civil War and Beijing regards Taipei as a breakaway province.

  • Taiwan's defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, told Parliament on Wednesday that the current crisis "is the most severe in the 40 years since I’ve enlisted," per AP.

Go deeper: Jake Sullivan to meet top Chinese diplomat as Taiwan tensions soar

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the senators' visit, Chiu's comment and further context.

Go deeper

Nov 29, 2021 - World

Chinese jets enter Taiwan zone as Xi holds talks to strengthen military

Chinese President Xi Jinping at a June event in Beijing. Photo: Liu Weibing/Xinhua via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense ministry reported another 27 Chinese aircraft entered the self-governed island's air defense identification zone on Sunday.

Why it matters: The latest of several Chinese military incursions into the zone this year came as China's President Xi Jinping met with generals to discuss further strengthening the country's armed forces, per Reuters.

Nov 26, 2021 - World

Solomon Islands leader blames foreign interference for unrest

Burnt-out buildings in Honiara's Chinatown on Friday, after two days of rioting around the district. Photo: Charley Piringi/AFP via Getty Images

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Friday "foreign powers" were to blame for days of unrest in the South Pacific nation.

Why it matters: His government's decision to change alliances from Taiwan to China sparked a wave of anger and massive protests and riots in the capital, Honiara, this week — which resulted in Sogavare declaring a lockdown and calling in Australian police, who swept in to take control of the city Friday, per Reuters.

Updated 15 mins ago - Sports

MLB enters first lockout since '95 as deal expires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (L) and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. Photo: Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday without a new deal in place.

Why it matters: With no CBA, the MLB is in a management lockout — the first work stoppage since a 1994-95 strike led to the cancelation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

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