Beijing / Washington (dpa) – In their first phone conversation in seven months, US President Joe Biden and Chinese state and party leader Xi Jinping warned of the risk of tensions between their countries ending by a confrontation.
“The two leaders discussed the responsibility of the two countries to ensure that the competition does not turn into a conflict,” the White House said Friday. “The confrontation between China and the United States would be a disaster for the two countries and for the world,” Xi Jinping said, according to Chinese state media.
Address issues “openly and directly”
As the White House further reported, the two presidents “discussed areas where our interests collide and areas where our interests, values and perspectives diverge.” Biden and Xi had agreed to “tackle both catalogs of problems openly and directly.” The US president made it clear that the US is trying to “responsibly manage competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.” Biden underscored the United States’ interest in peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the rest of the world.
It was only the second phone conversation between the two presidents since Biden took office in January. Since the days of his predecessor Donald Trump, the two largest economies have been waging a trade war with mutual punitive tariffs. There are also differences over the criticisms of the United States of the lack of respect for human rights in China, the way it deals with the democratic opposition in Hong Kong and the Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang. There is also a dispute over China’s land claims in the South China Sea and its threats against democratic Taiwan.
Xi Jinping criticized the United States for dropping the relationship to its lowest level since the start of diplomatic relations in 1979. China’s policy, which the United States has pursued for some time, has “caused serious difficulties for relationships “. That China and the United States have managed their relations well is important for the future of the world. “This is the question of the century that the two countries must answer,” Xi Jinping said.
The international community faces major problems. China and the United States should “take the big picture” and look ahead to get their relations back on track, the Chinese president said. Based on respect and appropriate management of differences, dialogue could continue and cooperation on climate protection, pandemic control, economic recovery and regional and international issues advanced. The relations between China and the United States are the most important in the world, Xi Jinping said, according to state media.
The summit of the group of great economic nations (G20) on October 30 and 31 under the Italian presidency in Rome offers the two presidents the opportunity to meet in person. However, Beijing has not yet announced whether Xi Jinping will travel to Italy under pandemic conditions or whether he would prefer to attend the deliberations only by video for security reasons. For fear of the virus being introduced and due to its strict zero covid policy, no state guests have been received in Beijing for over a year.