On Thursday, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first meeting in seven months, speaking for 90 minutes on the need to prevent a war between the world’s two biggest economies.
With ties between the superpowers at their lowest point in decades, the US side stated the “proof will be in the pudding” as to whether the impasse can be broken.
A White House statement said Biden and Xi had “a broad, strategic discussion,” including areas where interests and values converge and diverge. The conversation focused on economic issues, climate change, and Covid-19, a senior US official told reporters.
“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 said.
Since Xi and Biden’s initial conversation in February, sporadic high-level discussions have produced little progress on a variety of topics, ranging from human rights to the origins of Covid-19.
In the months since the two sides have savaged one other on a near-daily basis, often resorting to public assaults, imposing penalties on each other’s officials, and criticizing each other for failing to fulfill their international commitments.
According to Chinese official media, Xi told Biden that US policy toward China causes “serious difficulties” in relations, but that the two sides agreed to keep regular contact and urge working-level teams to improve communication.
Chinese state media said Xi had told Biden that US policy on China imposes “serious difficulties” on relations but added that both sides agreed to maintain frequent contact and to ask working-level teams to increase communications.
On Friday, Asian currencies and stock markets rose as investors anticipated that the conversation might lead to a thaw in ties between the region’s two most significant trade partners.