US President Joe Biden has spoken to China’s Xi Jinping, amid growing frustration on the US side that the high-level engagement between the two leaders’ top advisers has been largely unsuccessful.
- The United States is optimistic about its ability to cooperate with China on issues such as climate change and the prevention of a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
- Xi Jinping says US policy towards Beijing has caused “serious difficulties” in relations
- Joe Biden sees China as America’s most important economic competitor and a growing concern for national security
Mr Biden launched the call with MrXi, the second between the two leaders since taking office on Thursday US time.
It comes at a time when there is no shortage of thorny issues between the two nations, including cybersecurity loopholes from China, Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and what the White House calls “coercive and unfair business practices.” ” Chinese people.
But Mr Biden’s focus on the 90-minute call was less focused on one of those burning issues and instead focused on discussing the way forward for US-China relations, the House said. White.
The White House said in a statement that “the two leaders had a broad strategic discussion in which they discussed areas where our interests converge and areas where our interests, values and perspectives diverge.”
The White House hopes the two sides can work together on issues of mutual concern, including climate change and preventing a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula despite growing differences.
Beijing, however, has pushed back on American pressure and has increasingly suggested that it may remain broadly uncooperative until Mr Biden reduces criticism of what he sees as Chinese internal affairs.
Xi told Biden that the US government’s policy towards China is causing “serious difficulties” in relations, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
“It is not in the fundamental interest of the two peoples,” Xisaid said, according to Xinhua.
Xi said the two sides should cooperate on climate change, epidemic prevention, economic recovery and other issues, Xinhua reported.
Ahead of the call, a senior administration official said the White House was not happy with early engagements with the Chinese.
The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said White House officials hoped Xi would hear directly from Biden to prove beneficial.
Xi-Biden conversation comes after a series of grueling interactions
The high-level engagement during Mr Biden’s first year of administration has been most noticeable with each side blowing up the other with recriminations.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry that deteriorating US-China relations could undermine cooperation on climate change.
Wang told Mr. Kerry, who was traveling to Tianjin for climate talks with his Chinese counterparts, that such cooperation could not be separated from the larger relationship, and called on the United States to take steps to improve their relationships.
In July, US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman faced a long list of demands and complaints, including accusations that the United States was trying to contain and suppress development in China.
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng urged the United States “to change its highly mistaken mentality and dangerous policy.”
In March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had heated discussions with Communist Party of China Foreign Chief Yang Jiechi when they met with senior Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska.
At that meeting, Mr. Yang accused the United States of failing to address its own human rights issues and challenged what he called American hypocrisy.
U.S. officials suspect that part of the rhetoric at these high-profile meetings was more about performing in front of a national audience through the press than sending a message to the White House.
With that in mind, Biden stressed the importance of the two leaders’ ability to have private conversations and be clear about their priorities, the administration official said.
Mr Biden has sought to put more emphasis on China since becoming president, bringing together allies to speak with a more unified voice about Beijing’s human rights record, its business practices and its increasingly assertive military behavior, which pissed off American allies in the Pacific.
He sees Beijing as the United States’ most important economic competitor and a growing concern for national security.
But Mr Biden also expressed hope that his long-standing working relationship with Mr Xi, which dates back to when he was Barack Obama’s vice president, could bear fruit in the two cooperating countries on certain issues. critical questions.
The two spent time on call remembering their travel time together when they were both vice presidents, administration official Biden said.
The White House said the leaders had agreed to engage “openly and directly” on issues where nations disagreed and there was agreement.
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