(Washington) – US President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday, calling on China to work with the United States to manage their relationship “responsibly” and “face global challenges together.”
The two rival superpowers, who are engaged in a fierce but confident competition, must “manage their relationship responsibly and keep the lines of communication open,” Biden told his host, according to a House press release.
The text added, “He stressed that the United States and China must work together to confront global challenges.”
According to a senior US official, Washington has particularly pressured Beijing to play a “more positive role” in order to avoid escalation of the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, using its relations with Tehran to call for “calm.”
The Chinese foreign minister is making a rare visit to Washington, the first by a Chinese foreign minister to the United States since 2018, continuing an intense diplomatic push aimed at helping calm the turbulent relationship and find common ground.
His meeting with President Biden was carefully planned, away from the press.
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In total, he will have conducted more than “ten” hours of interviews, including with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday and Friday, exchanges that the US side described as “candid, frank and in-depth.” .
In his report on the meeting with Biden, which was not previously announced, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby gave no indication as to whether Beijing had responded favorably to an invitation extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit the United States.
“We are working together” to make this visit on the occasion of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit that will be held in San Francisco in mid-November, but another US official confirmed on condition of anonymity, which clearly means that Washington was handing over to Beijing the task of announcing this. When the time comes.
The US President has repeatedly expressed his “hope” to hold a next meeting before the end of the year, while their last face-to-face meeting dates back to the G20 summit in Bali, in November 2022.
Despite the renewed dialogue between them, mistrust remains between the United States and China, which are competing for influence, in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
On Thursday, Wang Yi called for “stabilizing” this relationship and enabling the world’s two leading economic powers to return it “to the path of healthy, stable and sustainable development.” He made no further public statements.
The Democratic president does not hide this. He intends to engage China in an all-out competition “in accordance with international rules” and defend American interests in Asia.
As such, he is asking Congress for a $7.4 billion budget to confront China militarily and economically.
The United States also highlights strengthening its alliances in Asia, with India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Pacific Islands and even Vietnam.
Beijing sees this as a desire to “encircle” China, which Washington denies.
During its talks with Wang Yi, the United States expressed concern about Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea, and urged Beijing to resume direct contacts between their militaries, which are still pending.
They also raised respect for human rights in China, as well as the fate of Americans “unjustly detained” in that country, according to US officials.
The issue of Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, is particularly sensitive as Beijing accuses the United States of stoking tensions.
In a report issued on Friday, the International Crisis Group called on Beijing, Washington and Taipei to calm things down, risking a confrontation with “catastrophic” consequences.
“A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely in the near future, but the risk of conflict is growing,” wrote the book’s author, Amanda Hsiao, who sees “the current path as dangerous.”
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