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Biden calls Xi as US-China relationship grows extra fraught

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden spoke with China’s Xi Jinping on Thursday amid rising frustration on the American facet that high-level engagement between the 2 leaders’ prime advisers has been largely unfruitful within the early going of the Biden presidency.

Biden initiated the decision with Xi, the second between the 2 leaders since Biden took workplace. It comes at a second when there’s no scarcity of thorny points between the 2 nations, together with cybersecurity breaches originating from China, Beijing’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic and what the White Home has labeled as “coercive and unfair” commerce practices by the Chinese language.

However Biden’s goal with the 90-minute name was much less targeted on any of these hot-button points and as a substitute centered on discussing the best way forward for the U.S.-China relationship after it obtained off to a decidedly rocky begin in his tenure.

The White Home mentioned in an announcement the “two leaders had a broad, strategic dialogue during which they mentioned areas the place our pursuits converge, and areas the place our pursuits, values, and views diverge.”

The White Home is hopeful the 2 sides can work collectively on problems with mutual concern —together with local weather change and stopping a nuclear disaster on the Korean Peninsula — regardless of rising variations.

Beijing, nonetheless, has pushed again in opposition to U.S. strain and more and more has advised it might stay broadly uncooperative till Biden dials down criticism on what it deems Chinese language inner issues.

Xi within the name appeared to echo among the complaints, telling Biden that U.S. authorities coverage towards China brought about “severe difficulties” in relations, the official Xinhua Information Company reported.

“This isn’t within the primary pursuits of the 2 peoples,” the Chinese language chief mentioned, in keeping with Xinhua.

“Chinese language-U.S. confrontation will convey catastrophe to each international locations and the world,” Xi added.

Xi mentioned the 2 sides ought to cooperate on local weather change, epidemic prevention, financial restoration and different points, Xinhua reported.

Forward of the decision, a senior administration official mentioned the White Home has been unhappy with early engagements with the Chinese language.

The official, who was not approved to remark publicly and spoke on the situation of anonymity, mentioned White Home officers had been hopeful that Xi listening to straight from Biden might show helpful.

The White Home official mentioned Biden made clear to Xi that he had no intention of shifting away from his administration’s coverage of urgent China on human rights, commerce and different areas the place it believes China is appearing exterior worldwide norms.

Excessive-level engagement within the early going has been most notable for either side blasting the opposite with recriminations.

Final week, Chinese language International Minister Wang Yi warned Biden local weather envoy John Kerry that deteriorating U.S.-China relations might undermine cooperation on local weather change. Wang instructed Kerry, who was visiting Tianjin for local weather talks together with his Chinese language counterparts, by video hyperlink that such cooperation can’t be separated from the broader relationship and referred to as on the U.S. to take steps to enhance ties, in keeping with the International Ministry.

In July, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman confronted a protracted checklist of calls for and complaints, together with accusations that the U.S. was attempting to include and suppress China’s growth. Vice International Minister Xie Feng urged the U.S. “to alter its extremely misguided mindset and harmful coverage.”

In March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White Home nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan had heated exchanges with Chinese language Communist Occasion international affairs chief Yang Jiechi once they met with prime Chinese language officers in Anchorage. At that assembly, Yang accused the U.S. of failing to take care of its personal human rights issues and took difficulty with what he mentioned was American hypocrisy.

Administration officers suspect that among the rhetoric in these high-profile conferences was extra about taking part in to a home viewers via the press than sending a message to the White Home. With that in thoughts, Biden highlighted the significance of two leaders potential to have non-public conversations and be clear about their priorities, the administration official mentioned.

Biden from the beginning of his presidency has sought to place higher concentrate on China, rallying allies to talk in a extra unified voice about Beijing’s human rights document, its commerce practices and its army’s more and more assertive habits that has unnerved U.S. allies within the Pacific. He sees Beijing as essentially the most vital financial competitor to america and a rising nationwide safety concern.

However the president has additionally expressed hope that his long-running working relationship with Xi, one which dates again to when he served as Barack Obama’s vp, might pay dividends within the two nations cooperating on sure important points. The 2 frolicked on the decision reminiscing about their time touring collectively once they had been each vice presidents, the administration official mentioned.

The White Home mentioned the leaders in the course of the name agreed to interact “brazenly and straightforwardly” on points the place the nations are at odds and the place there’s settlement.

McDonald reported from Beijing.

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