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Facing a relationship deadlock, Biden and Xi Jinping discuss avoiding call conflicts – EURACTIV.com

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a 90-minute meeting for the first time in seven months on Thursday (September 9). They discussed how to avoid bringing the competition between the world’s two largest economies into conflict. necessity.

The US said that as relations between superpowers are at their lowest point in decades, whether the deadlock can be broken, “the evidence is in the pudding.”

A White House statement stated that Biden and Xi Jinping had “extensive strategic discussions” that included areas where interests and values ​​converge and diverge. A senior US official told reporters that the focus of the conversation was economic issues, climate change and COIVD-19.

The statement said: “President Biden emphasized the United States’ lasting interest in peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world. The two leaders discussed the responsibility of the two countries to ensure that competition does not fall into conflict.”

Since the first call between Xi Jinping and Biden in February, occasional high-level meetings have made little progress on a range of issues, from human rights to transparency in the origin of COVID-19.

The U.S. is concerned about the WHO-supported report on the origin of the new coronavirus

On Tuesday (March 30), the United States expressed concern about a WHO-supported report on the origin of the Chinese coronavirus and accused Beijing of failing to properly contact investigators.

In the next few months, the two sides attacked each other almost constantly, often publicly attacking each other, imposing sanctions on each other’s officials, and criticizing each other for not fulfilling its international obligations.

Chinese state media stated that Xi had told Biden that the US policy toward China had brought “serious difficulties” to relations between the two countries, but added that the two sides agreed to maintain frequent contact and required work-level teams to strengthen communication.

“China and the United States should… show strategic courage and insight, show political courage, and push Sino-US relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible,” the official media quoted Xi Jinping as saying.

Asian currencies and stock markets strengthened on Friday as investors speculated that the call could lead to a easing of relations between the two most important trading partners in the region.

Fickle partner

The Biden administration, troubled by the US’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, said that ending the longest US war would give US political and military leaders room to focus on the more urgent threats posed by China’s rapid rise.

But Beijing quickly caught the United States’ failure in Afghanistan and tried to portray the United States as a fickle partner. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last month that if Washington is also working hard, Washington should not count on China in this or other issues. Cooperation. “Contain and suppress” China.

The senior U.S. government official told reporters before the call that Washington was disappointed that Chinese officials seemed to be only willing to read the talking points during the recent high-level talks, and that the U.S. viewed the leader’s call as a test of whether to directly contact the United States. Xi Jinping can end the relationship deadlock.

“It’s about seeing whether we are able to participate more substantively than we can… The evidence will be in the pudding,” the official said after the conference call, describing the tone as frank but respectful .

But the official also admitted that the ability of the United States to change China’s behavior may be limited, and Washington must focus to a large extent on supporting U.S. competitiveness and uniting partners and allies.

Successive U.S. governments have complained about Beijing’s attempts to use endless dialogue as a procrastination strategy, and disappointment with this strategy eventually led Washington to terminate the annual U.S.-China dialogue mechanism.

Even so, the official stated that if China refuses to cooperate on a range of issues including COVID-19 origin investigations, Biden has no plans to increase the possibility or “cost” of US retaliation. Beijing denies the US allegations, saying it did not cooperate with the investigation of the source of the pandemic.

The US official said that the Biden administration needs “time” and “training period” to convince Chinese leaders-they themselves are preparing for next year’s important Communist Party Congress-that Beijing’s position will not bring benefits.

“We also believe that Beijing’s actions are basically quieter than they said,” the official said. “Their reaction to our actions was actually largely iconic, and frankly, their tough remarks didn’t really work.”

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