US President Joseph Biden and his Chinese colleague Xi Jinping Monday held a virtual Summit during which they discussed world and bilateral issues.
The virtual meeting came after Biden criticized Xi Jinping's absence from key international events such as the G20 Summit in Rome or the Glasgow COP26 Summit.
It was the first such contact after ties between the United States and the Asian superpower froze up during the presidency of Donald Trump (2017-2021), who had launched a trade war in addition to blaming Beijing for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chinese leader referred to Biden as an old friend and says he wants a positive relationship between the US and China, although the Taiwan issue seems to stand in the way.
On the other hand, Biden told Xi Jinping that he intended to ensure that competition between their two countries does not drift into conflict, due to which it is important for the two countries to communicate transparently and honestly, and that they must respect international rules.
The Chinese president insisted both countries should respect each other, coexist in peace and seek cooperation in which both win.
The two presidents have spoken extensively on the phone twice since Biden's inauguration in January. Given Xi's refusal to travel abroad due to the pandemic, an online meeting was chosen to hold direct conversations. While Biden's tone is more measured than Trump's, things between Washington and Beijing remain strained over issues such as Taiwan -an independent island nation which China regards as a rogue province-, human rights and trade.
Just this past weekend, China's Foreign Ministry Wang Yi warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that his country opposed any interference on the part of the US which could be interpreted as s sign of support towards Taipei (Taiwan's capital).
During Monday's meeting, Xi pointed out that both China and the US were at critical stages of development, and the global village of humanity faced multiple challenges. As the world's two largest economies and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the U.S. need to work together to advance the noble cause of world peace and development, Xi said. This is the shared desire of the people of the two countries and around the world, and the joint mission of Chinese and American leaders, he added.
The Chinese leader also stressed that a sound and steady China-US relationship was required for advancing the two countries' respective development and for safeguarding a peaceful and stable international environment, including finding effective responses to global challenges such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.