In the midst of collapsing US-China relations, Biden and Xi Jinping speak for the first time in months.
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President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke by phone on Thursday, just the second time since Biden took office, in an effort by the U.S. to stabilize the relationship and lure Beijing into more meaningful engagement despite increasing competition between the countries.
An impasse on trade, technology and human rights has gripped the world’s two greatest economies. Washington and Beijing’s communication and collaboration have suffered as a result.
White House: Biden and Xi held a “wide-ranging, strategic dialogue” in which they discussed areas where their “interests, values, and viewpoints vary,” according to the White House’s statement.
“They committed to engage on both sets of concerns openly and honestly,” the White House stated in a press release.
As the Biden administration has stated, the United States welcomes competition with China, but seeks to collaborate in areas of shared concern, such as climate change. Americans cannot expect assistance from China while adopting measures that Beijing considers harmful to the country’s interests, according to Chinese authorities.
Both leaders “addressed their respective responsibilities to ensure that competitiveness does not devolve into conflict,” according to a White House statement.
There is a decline in Biden’s popularity among Americans, partly due to the manner he has managed the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. In light of this new reality, the president is shifting his focus to China, which he has declared to be his top foreign policy priority.
Last month, in a speech on the U-S withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden laid out his goals.
“The United States and China are engaged in a fierce struggle. As a result, we have to deal with Russia on a number of fronts. Cyber-attacks and nuclear proliferation are a concern “xi stated.
In this battle, China and Russia want nothing more than for the United States to spend another decade in Afghanistan. ”
Next month, Biden and Xi are both slated to attend the G-20 summit in Rome, but Xi may not go in person. This year’s summit is not expected to be as conventional as previous years, with Chinese and American presidents meeting separately on the sidelines.
Biden administration officials claimed they were frustrated by lower-level Chinese officials’ apparent inability to “engage in real or substantial talks” on Thursday.
The person said Biden called Xi “to actually have a comprehensive and strategic talk about how to manage the competition between the United States and China.”
In order to advance the ball forward, the official believes that interaction at the leader level is necessary.
But it was unclear going into the call how receptive Xi would be.
A unusual third term as Communist Party chief and president in 2023, Xi enjoys greater power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.
An administration insider said that Xi’s call will be a test of whether he has more freedom to move because he has so much authority and doesn’t have to “perform for anybody above him”.