Joe Biden talks to Xi Jinping after 7 months, says US-China contest must not invite ‘conflict’
Joe Biden talks to Xi Jinping after 7 months, says US-China contest must not invite ‘conflict’

Joe Biden talks to Xi Jinping after 7 months, says US-China contest must not invite ‘conflict’

10 Sep 2021

US President Joe Biden spoke to China's Xi Jinping on Friday, for the first time in seven months, which the White House said was a “broad, strategic discussion” over the phone. The Chinese state media, however, reported that Xi Jinping has highlighted to Joe Biden how the US policy on China has caused ‘serious difficulties’.

According to the White House, both Joe Biden and Xi Jinping have agreed to engage, in an open and straightforward manner, on issues concerning the diplomatic ties between the United States and China. “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 readout issued by the White House briefing room read. “This discussion, as President Biden made clear, was part of the United States’ ongoing effort to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the PRC,” the readout explained.

According to a senior US official cited in reports, Biden requested the call after the White House concluded that the Chinese officials who met their US counterparts this year were “unwilling to engage in serious or substantive conversations”.

“President Biden underscored the United States’ enduring interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” the White House readout continued, “… and the world and the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”

The Chinese state media said that Xi Jinping and Joe Biden held “candid, in-depth” talks. China Central Television (CCTV), the Chinese state-controlled broadcaster, said that president Xi Jinping held the phone call with Joe Biden at US invitation and conducted “candid, in-depth and extensive strategic communications and exchanges on Sino-US relations and related issues of mutual concern.”

This was the second phone call between Biden and Xi Jinping since the former took office as the US president and the first one in seven months. Biden, however, has not yet met Xi since he stepped into the White House, portraying the fraught relationship between the United States and China after two rounds of top-level meetings produced little progress in navigating the muddy waters of diplomacy.