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Joe Biden and Xi Jinping hold first call in seven months

The conversation ended a seven-month gap in direct communication between the two leaders. Beijing said the call took place on Washington’s request. The last time the two leaders had spoken was on February 12.
The US, Biden reportedly said, looked forward to strengthening communication and cooperation with China on the climate crisis and other important issues.(AP file photo)
Published on Sep 11, 2021 07:00 AM IST
By Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing

America’s China policy has resulted in “serious difficulties” in bilateral ties and goes against the core interests of the two countries and the common interests of the world, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US counterpart Joe Biden in a rare telephone call on Friday.

The conversation ended a seven-month gap in direct communication between the two leaders. Beijing said the call took place on Washington’s request. The last time the two leaders had spoken was on February 12.

“The US’s China policy has resulted in serious difficulties in bilateral relations and runs counter to the fundamental interests of the peoples in the two countries and the common interests of all countries,” Xi told Biden.

Xi pointed out that whether “they (China and the US) can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer”.

Xi said the two countries should demonstrate “strategic vision and political courage”.

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A White House readout on the phone call said Washington and Beijing needed to ensure that “conflict” between the two countries is avoided. “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,” it said.

The US, Biden reportedly said, looked forward to strengthening communication and cooperation with China on the climate crisis and other important issues.

Earlier in the day, China-based Xinhua news agency reported that the two leaders held “candid, in-depth and broad strategic communication and exchanges” on bilateral ties.

Besides frosty ties over a range of issues, from trade to human rights to transparency over the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, the call between Xi and Biden took place in the backdrop of developments in Afghanistan where the Taliban group swept to power in mid-August.

Chinese media quoted Biden as saying the US had no intention to change the “one-China principle”, and it was ready to engage in more exchanges.

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