WASHINGTON US officials are working to organize a possible call this summer between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two people in Washington familiar with the plans, with tensions high between the world’s two largest economies.
People didn’t have more details about what the US would want to be at the center of the call, but senior Biden administration officials stressed the importance of putting safeguards on relations with Beijing. to prevent disagreements from escalating into crises.
Ukraine, Taiwan and human rights are among the many sore points in US-China relations, and the two nations are vying for greater influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
We want stability in relationships that require connection, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said Thursday at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution when asked about the state of affairs between the countries. . Of course, our ultimate channel is the channel between our two presidents. Thus conducted an intensive diplomacy.
A person familiar with the planning said a possible summer call could take place as early as July, but any face-to-face meeting of the two leaders would wait until after the Chinese Communist Party congress at the end of the year. Xi, who is seeking a third term as Chinese leader, has also halted international travel since the outbreak of COVID-19 more than two years ago.
Asked about a possible meeting, Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said in a single email that China and the United States have smooth communication channels.
A spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council said Thursday that the Biden administration continues to maintain open lines of communication to manage the competition with China, but has no future calls or meetings to announce for now.
A call would follow a lengthy meeting between US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Luxembourg this week. The United States said the meeting included frank, substantive and productive discussions on a number of regional and global security issues, as well as key issues in US-China relations.
Speaking at an event in Washington on Thursday, Sullivan explained what US officials see as the cost of China’s dominance of the world.
When you play this world, it’s a world that’s darker and harsher for American families, and it’s one that we need to stand up against and in favor of a worldview that actually offers people a better life. and that’s the heart of what we try to do every day in a turbulent and crisis-laden international landscape,” Sullivan said.
China, meanwhile, has accused Washington of seeking to encircle it with a NATO-like system of alliances and trying to recreate a version of the Cold War world. Beijing recently pressed Pacific island nations to sign security and economic deals that surprised Australian and US officials. Beijing has also repeatedly alarmed US officials in recent months by claiming the Taiwan Strait is not international waters.
Yet as China focuses on stamping out COVID-19 surges that have caused sporadic lockdowns that are stunting economic growth, U.S. officials increasingly see China losing diplomatic ground in Asia. Recent weeks have seen a flurry of contacts with the United States in Asia, including from Biden, who visited South Korea and Japan last month, as well as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and senior officials. State Department officials.
Biden and Xi last spoke in a nearly two-hour video call on March 18, their first after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The US president warned his counterpart at the time of the consequences if Beijing backed President Vladimir Putin’s war, according to the White House conversation reading.
The longer summaries of the March call released by the Chinese side described a broader discussion, including the situation in Ukraine. Xi told Biden that the invasion is not something we want to see, according to Chinese summaries, and that events again show that countries should not come to the point of meeting on the battlefield .
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