Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with US Vice President Joe Biden (L) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 4, 2013.
Lintao Zhang | Reuters
BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden spoke for the first time since February on Friday.
It was the second call between leaders since Biden took office in January, as tensions simmered between the world's two largest economies.
"President Biden underscored the United States' continued 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 that competition does not become conflicted," the White House said into a reading of the call published on Friday morning.
Chinese state media confirmed the call shortly afterwards.
Xi said in the report that "based on mutual respect for core concerns and fair handling of differences," the relevant departments of the two countries are committed to working together on climate, Covid prevention, economic recovery and major international and regional issues can use.
He said that if there is a "confrontation" between China and the US, "both countries and the world will suffer," while everyone would benefit from the two nations working together. That comes from a CNBC translation of the Chinese text.
The state media report also contained some descriptions of Biden's comments, including a remark: "The two countries have no reason to get into conflict over competition."
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The two heads of state and government last spoke shortly before the New Year celebrations – China's most important holiday – in February in a phone call that Biden said lasted two hours.
Friday's call, which lasted about 90 minutes, discussed a range of transnational issues and touched upon economic issues, although that aspect of US-China policy continues to be scrutinized, Reuters reported, citing a senior US government official. The two leaders are able to be open and honest with each other without giving lectures, the officer said.
The US focus must be on attracting partners and allies, the official said in the report.
Both countries are building regional connections
Biden's strategy for dealing with China centered on working with traditional US allies. The previous Trump administration had taken a more independent approach to the application of tariffs and sanctions against China in order to dispel long-standing business complaints about unequal market access and forced technology transfer.
The geopolitical landscape has become more complex this summer with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban in a region bordering China.
In recent months, both China and the United States have stepped up their efforts to develop political and economic ties with regional partners.
On Thursday, Xi said at a virtual meeting of the five BRICS countries – China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and India – that Beijing will take over the chairmanship of the BRICS summit next year and, according to state media, is looking to strengthen cooperation with member states am happy.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired this year's meeting.
This fall, India, along with the US, Japan and Australia, will host a face-to-face meeting of so-called quad guides. According to reports, the meeting could take place this month.