President Joe Biden has emphasised that the United States and China need to manage competition in the relationship responsibly and maintain open lines of communication as he met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi ahead of a potential meeting with President Xi Jinping next month to reset bilateral ties.
President Biden met Wang at the White House on Friday after the top Chinese diplomat held wide-ranging talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Wang's visit is expected to lay the groundwork for a potential meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco in mid-November.
“The President emphasised that both the United States and China need to manage competition in the relationship responsibly and maintain open lines of communication. He underscored that the United States and China must work together to address global challenges,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting between Biden and Wang.
Sullivan and Wang had candid, constructive, and substantive discussions on key issues in the US-China bilateral relationship, the Israel-Hamas conflict, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and cross-Strait issues, among other topics, said the National Security Council in a readout of the meeting.
During the meeting, Sullivan discussed concerns over China’s dangerous and unlawful actions in the South China Sea. He raised the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force. China has been conducting provocative military exercises around the self-ruled island.
“The two sides reaffirmed their desire to maintain this strategic channel of communication and to pursue additional high-level diplomacy, including working together towards a meeting between President Biden and President Xi Jinping in San Francisco in November,” said the readout.
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said Blinken and Wang discussed a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, including addressing areas of difference as well as exploring areas of cooperation.
“The Secretary reiterated that the United States will continue to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners,” he said.
The relationship between the world's two largest economies began to deteriorate during the Trump administration. In 2018, former President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum that would impose retaliatory tariffs on up to USD 60 billion in Chinese imports.
The US and China have one of the world’s most important and complex bilateral relationships. Since 1949, the countries have experienced periods of both tension and cooperation over issues including trade, climate change, the South China Sea, Taiwan and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration has sought to re-establish normal diplomatic ties with China after an incredibly fraught period, most notably over the Chinese surveillance balloon incident in February.