New Delhi: US President Joe Biden had a conversation with his Chinese counterpart on Thursday, for the first time in seven months. The phone call which lasted about 90 minutes focused on “broad and strategic” issues reported AFP.
Biden urged they ensure that “competition” between the two powers does not become “conflict,” the White House said.
A senior US administration official told reporters, that the US President wants to ensure “the dynamic remains competitive and that we don’t have any situation in the future where we veer into unintended conflict”.
The White House signaled that the diplomatic impasse is unsustainable and potentially dangerous, requiring intervention by the leaders. This is why President Joe Biden understood the importance of engaging with President Xi directly.
The goal of the call was to set out “guardrails” so that the relationship can be “managed responsibly”, the AFP reported stated.
These guardrails included making sure that US actions are not “misinterpreted” by China, the official said.
According to a readout from the White House, the two leaders “discussed areas where our interests converge and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge.”
Former President Trump had launched a trade war between the world’s number one and two economies. Biden administration has put an end to Trump’s “America first” ideology and has kept trade tariffs in place and remains tough on other contentious areas of the relationship with Beijing.
Thursday’s call was “not about finding some sort of breakthrough agreements,” the senior official said according to AFP. It was about “keeping the channels of communication open” and managing the previously unstable relationship.
The list of disagreements between Washington and Beijing is long and growing latest being China’s refusal to cooperate with an international probe into the origins of the Covid-19 virus.
According to the White House Biden and Xi discussed the Covid pandemic and climate, among other global topics. Biden also brought up concerns about Chinese cyberattacks against the United States.
“Our goal is, is to really reach a steady state of affairs between the United States and China,” the official was quoted by AFP.
Biden had built a close relationship with Xi while serving as vice president under Barack Obama, during the phone call, the two leaders spent some talking about past shared experiences and that the tone was “respectful” and “candid,” without “lecturing.”
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