Ties between Beijing and Washington have been strained in recent years by a bruising trade war and America’s tough stand on China’s human rights track record – while competition over tech dominance and disputes over the origins of the coronavirus have further sullied relations.
In “candid, in-depth” talks with Biden, Xi warned that confrontation between the world’s top economies “would spell disaster for both countries and the world”.
“Whether China and the US can properly handle their relations… is critical for the future and destiny of the world,” Xi said, adding, “And this is a question of the century that both countries must answer.”
Xi told Biden the recent US political steps toward China had caused significant difficulties in the bilateral relations.
“The US policy toward China conducted for some time has caused serious difficulties in the relations between Beijing and Washington, which is not in line with the basic interests of the peoples of the two countries and the interests of all nations of the world,” Xi stressed.
It was the first call between the two leaders in seven months.
Xi stressed that the two sides should continue their dialogue on climate change, epidemic prevention and the global economic recovery, while “respecting our differences”.
“China-US relations are not a multiple-choice question involving whether or not to do a good job,” Xi continued, stating it is “a must-answer question on how to do a good job”.
The White House also announced that Biden and Xi have held a phone conversation to discuss each other’s national interests and the competition between the two countries.
“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 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 White House said in a statement on late Thursday.
The leaders also agreed to cooperate on both sets of problems “openly and straightforwardly”, it added.
“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. President Biden underscored the United States’ enduring interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world and the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict,” the statement read.
Source: CCTV and China Central Television