Washington – U.S. President Joe Biden talked with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time in seven months on Thursday, urging they ensure that “competition” between the two powers does not become “conflict,” the White House said.
During the call, Biden’s message was that the United States wants to ensure “the dynamic remains competitive and that we don’t have any situation in the future where we veer into unintended conflict,” a senior U.S. administration official told reporters.
In Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV reported that the phone call was “candid, in-depth” and covered “extensive strategic communication and exchanges on China-U.S. relations and issues of mutual concern,” and that U.S. policy on China has caused “serious difficulties.”
This was the leaders’ first call since February, when they talked for two hours, shortly after Biden took over from Donald Trump. The Biden administration official said the latest call lasted 90 minutes.
U.S.-China relations went into a nosedive under Trump, who launched a trade war between the world’s number one and two economies. Biden’s administration, while urging multilateralism and an end to Trump’s “America first” ideology, has kept trade tariffs in place and remains tough on other contentious areas of the relationship with Beijing.