Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with US Vice President Joe Biden (L) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, December 4, 2013.
Lintao Zhang | Reuters
BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden met Friday for the first time since February.
It was the second call between leaders since Biden took office in January, as tensions flare between the world’s two largest economies.
“President Biden underlined the United States’ continued interest in peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world and the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both countries to ensure competition does not turn into conflict,” said President Biden. the White House in a statement. a readout of the call released Friday morning.
Chinese state media confirmed the call shortly afterwards.
Xi said in the report that “on the basis of respecting each other’s top concerns and managing differences well,” relevant departments of the two countries can work together on climate, Covid prevention, economic recovery and major international and regional issues. .
He said that if there is “confrontation” between China and the US, “both countries and the world will suffer”, while everyone will benefit if the two nations work together. That’s according to a The Washington City Times translation of the Chinese text.
The state media report also included a description of Biden’s comments, including a note that, “The two countries have no reason to come into conflict due to competition.”
The two leaders last spoke just before the Lunar New Year – China’s most important holiday – in February in a phone call that Biden said lasted two hours.
Friday’s call, which lasted about 90 minutes, discussed a range of transnational issues and dealt with economic issues, although that aspect of US-China policy is still under review, Reuters reported, citing a senior US government official. The two leaders can be candid and honest with each other without lecturing, the official said.
The US focus should be on gathering partners and allies, the official said in the report.
Both countries are building regional alliances
Biden’s strategy for dealing with China focused on working with traditional US allies. The previous Trump administration had taken a more one-sided approach to applying tariffs and sanctions against China in an effort to address longstanding business complaints about unequal market access and forced technology transfer.
The geopolitical landscape has become more complex this summer with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban in a region bordering China.
In recent months, both China and the US have stepped up their efforts to build political and economic ties with regional partners.
On Thursday, at a virtual meeting of the five BRICS countries — China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and India — Beijing will chair next year’s BRICS summit and looks forward to working more closely with member states, it said. the state media.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired this year’s meeting.
This fall, India will join the US, Japan and Australia for a face-to-face meeting of the so-called Quad leaders. According to reports, the meeting could take place as early as this month.