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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration reportedly paused negotiations with China's ByteDance about spinning out TikTok's U.S. operations into an independent entity.

Why it matters: This is part of a wider White House review of Trump-era policies toward Chinese tech companies, some of which had bipartisan support.

  • Biden never took a public position on the TikTok situation while campaigning, but last July did instruct his staff to remove the app from their phones.

Details: Under terms of the discussed TikTok deal, ByteDance would remain a TikTok shareholder, alongside several venture capital firms, Oracle and Walmart.

  • The administration also asked a federal judge to delay litigation that would ban TikTok in the U.S. if the spinout did not happen.

Bottom line: Beijing and ByteDance seemed to be waiting out Trump. It might have worked.

Go deeper

Biden holds first call as president with China's Xi Jinping

Biden and Xi in 2012, when both were serving as vice president. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty

President Biden on Wednesday evening held his first call with Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking office, raising thorny issues including human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The big picture: Ahead of the call, senior administration officials offered reporters the most detailed portrait to date of Biden’s policies toward China, and how they will build on — and diverge from — Donald Trump’s approach.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.