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Diplomacy

Biden called China's Xi because lower-level talks were going nowhere, White House says

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke for 90 minutes on Thursday night, their second call since Biden took office. Biden initiated the conversation with Xi, a U.S. official said, to "test the proposition that doing so at the leader level will be more effective than what we have found below him." Recent meetings between climate envoy John Kerry, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and in March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and their counterparts ended with the Chinese officials breaking diplomatic protocol and unproductively reiterating talking points for domestic political consumption, the White House said.

"The two leaders had a broad, strategic discussion in which they discussed areas where our interests converge, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge," the White House said. "They agreed to engage on both sets of issues openly and straightforwardly," and "discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict."

Chinese state media called the discussion "candid and in-depth" and said Xi told Biden U.S. polices had "caused serious difficulties" between the two countries, and "Chinese-U.S. confrontation will bring disaster to both countries and the world." He suggested the U.S. and China could worth together on climate change, pandemic prevention, and economic revival.

Biden wanted to convey to Xi his vision that China and the U.S. can simultaneously compete economically, avoid escalating that competition into violent confrontation, and cooperate on areas of mutual interest, U.S. officials said. Biden and Xi might meet on the sidelines of one of two international summits this fall.