Friday marked the second call between the two world leaders since Biden took office after defeating former President Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. election.
According to a White House press statement, both Biden and Xi had a wide-ranging conversation on Friday that included “areas where our interests converge, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge.”
Throughout the conversation, both world leaders, “agreed to engage on both sets of issues openly and straightforwardly.” From Biden’s perspective, the conversation was, “part of the United States’ ongoing effort to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”
The press statement ended by stating that Biden “underscored the United States’ enduring interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world,” and that Xi and Biden, “discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”
The conversation also focused on pertinent issues such as economics, climate change and COVID-19, according to a senior U.S. official.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have plummeted to record lows, which is why the conversation between both men took place on Friday.
The first call took place in February of 2021 when Xi aimed for “win-win” cooperation, while Biden called China America’s “most serious competitor” and promised to “out-compete” Beijing.
“They’re investing billions of dollars dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment and a whole range of other things. We just have to step up,” said Biden in February, according to Reuters.
Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters that during their February call, there was a window of opportunity regarding cooperation on both ends, but there were stark differences as well.
“The concerns highlighted by President Biden are in essence all Chinese core interests,” said Glaser. “So, narrowing differences is going to be very challenging. Xi did not suggest that there are preconditions for bilateral cooperation on issues such as climate change, so that is one positive takeaway.”
Meanwhile, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) expert Scott Kennedy told Reuters in February that while Xi offered numerous bilateral exchanges, things would take time on both ends due to Biden’s plans for a thorough review of strategy.
“We may end up not far from where things are now, in terms of overall tone, but it’s also possible the two sides will find a pathway to stabilize their relationship, both the extent and manner of competition as well as areas of cooperation,” said Kennedy.
Newsweek has reached out to Xi Jinping for comment.