October 21, 2021

In his first call in seven months, Biden and Xi discussed avoiding the US-China conflict.

Issued:

The White House said US President Joe Biden spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time in seven months and urged them to make sure there was no “competition” between the two powers.

During the call, BidenThe message was: United States A senior US administration official told reporters he wanted to make sure there was “dynamic competition and no future situation where we could be the victims of unintentional conflict.”

In Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV reported that the phone call was “clear, in-depth” and involved extensive strategic communications and exchanges. ChinaUS relations and issues of mutual interest, and US policy towards China, have created “serious difficulties”.

This was Biden’s first call to leaders since February, shortly after Donald Trump took office, when he spoke for two hours. The latest call lasted 90 minutes, a Biden administration official said.

US-China relations deteriorated under Trump, who launched a trade war between the world’s number one and two economies. Biden’s administration has maintained trade tariffs, pushing for the elimination of multilateralism and Trump’s “America First” ideology, and has tightened its grip on other contentious areas of relations with Beijing.

However, the White House pointed out that the diplomatic standoff is unstable and potentially dangerous, requiring leaders to intervene in Thursday’s call.

“We welcome the tough competition but we don’t want it to escalate into a confrontation,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.

The goal of the call was to establish “guardrails” so that the relationship could be handled “responsibly.”

The watchdog includes ensuring that US actions do not “misinterpret” China, the official said.

Lower-level efforts to engage with China have not been successful, especially in an angry March exchange between Foreign Minister Anthony Blanken and top Chinese officials when they met in Anchorage, Alaska.

“We are not very satisfied with the attitude of our negotiators,” a senior official told reporters.

Accusing the Chinese of being largely “unwilling to engage in serious or concrete talks”, the official said: Given the importance. “

Facing the stalemate, the official said, “President Biden understood the importance of including President Xi directly.”

According to a White House study after the call, Biden and Eleven “discussed areas where our interests coexist, and areas where our interests, values ​​and perspectives differ.”

No ‘achievements’

The official said Thursday’s call focused on “broad and strategic” issues, with no concrete decisions expected on outstanding issues or the first Biden XI summit.

The list of differences between Washington and Beijing is long and growing.

Aside from trade, there is deep tension over China’s claims on several islands in Taiwan and the South China Sea, with a White House official complaining of “unfair and coercive trade practices”.

Washington is also angry that China has refused to co-operate in an international investigation into the origin of the Covid 19 virus, which broke out in China before sweeping the world.

There are areas where the two powers find themselves cooperating or at least co-ordinating, including North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the climate crisis.

The White House said Biden and Eleven discussed other global issues, including epidemics and climate change. Biden also expressed concern about Chinese cyberattacks against the United States.

The senior official said Thursday’s call was “not about finding any important deals.”

It was about “keeping the channels of communication open” and ending the previous cycles where relations were hot and cold.

“Our goal is to reach a stable position between the United States and China,” the official said.

Biden, who served as vice president under Barack Obama and forged close ties with the XI, clearly believes in the power of personal communication when it comes to diplomacy.

The senior US official said the two leaders talked about their shared experiences in the past and that the tone was “respectable” and “clear”, without the “lecture”.

(AFP)

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