Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold first phone call in seven months
Washington DC – US President Joe Biden and Chinese president and party chief Xi Jinping have spoken by phone for the first time in seven months.
The White House in a Thursday statement called the conversation a "broad, strategic discussion" and said both presidents talked about "areas where our interests converge, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge."
Chinese state media meanwhile cited Xi as saying that a confrontation between Washington and Beijing "will bring disasters to both countries and the world."
Biden and Xi agreed to engage on both sets of issues "openly and straightforwardly," the White House said.
Biden made clear to his Chinese counterpart that the US would continue efforts to "responsibly manage the competition" between Beijing and Washington.
Biden emphasized the US interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and worldwide.
"The two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict."
China blames US for worsening relations
It marked the second phone call between the two presidents since Biden took office in January.
A trade war with tariffs from both sides started under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump.
There is also ongoing tension over human rights, the suppression of the democratic opposition in Hong Kong, China's handling of Muslim minority Uyghurs, China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, and threats against Taiwan.
The relationship has hit its lowest point since diplomatic relations were taken up in 1979, and Biden appears set to continue Trump's hard line against Beijing.
Xi blamed the US for the worsening relationship, saying that the China policy adopted by Washington "for some time has caused serious difficulties" for relations, according to state media.
The G20 leaders summit in Rome at the end of October offers an opportunity for the two leaders to meet in person, though it has not been announced yet whether Xi will take part in person or if he'll choose to attend remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / Xinhua, IMAGO / MediaPunch