Xi, Biden hold phone talks

In World
April 02, 2024


Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with US President Joe Biden on the phone Tuesday at the request of the latter. The two presidents had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on China-US relations and issues of mutual interest.

President Xi noted that his San Francisco meeting with President Biden last November opened a future-oriented San Francisco vision. Over the past months, their officials have acted on the presidential understandings in earnest. The China-US relationship is beginning to stabilise, and this is welcomed by both societies and the international community. On the other hand, the negative factors of the relationship have also been growing, and this requires attention from both sides.

President Xi stressed that the issue of strategic perception is always fundamental to the China-US relationship, just like the first button of a shirt that must be put right. Two big countries like China and the United States should not cut off their ties or turn their back on each other, still less slide into conflict or confrontation. The two countries should respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation. The relationship should continue moving forward in a stable, sound and sustainable way, rather than going backwards.

President Xi underlined three overarching principles that should guide China-US relations in 2024. First, peace must be valued. The two sides should put a floor of no conflict and no confrontation under the relationship, and keep reinforcing the positive outlook of the relationship. Second, stability must be prioritised. The two sides should refrain from setting the relationship back, provoking incidents or crossing the line, so as to maintain the overall stability of the relationship. Third, credibility must be upheld. The two sides should honour their commitments to each other with action, and turn the San Francisco vision into reality. They need to strengthen dialogue in a mutually respectful way, manage differences prudently, advance cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit, and step up coordination on international affairs in a responsible way.

Read also: Chinese FM urges US to honor commitments on bilateral ties

President Xi stressed that the Taiwan question is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations. In the face of “Taiwan independence” separatist activities and external encouragement and support for them, China is not going to sit on its hands.

He urged the US side to translate President Biden’s commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” into concrete actions. The US side has adopted a string of measures to suppress China’s trade and technology development and is adding more and more Chinese entities to its sanctions lists. This is not “de-risking,” but creating risks. If the US side is willing to seek mutually beneficial cooperation and share in China’s development dividends, it will always find China’s door open; but if it is adamant on containing China’s hi-tech development and depriving China of its legitimate right to development, China is not going to sit back and watch.

President Xi stated China’s position on Hong Kong-related issues, human rights, the South China Sea, and other issues.

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President Biden noted that the US-China relationship is the most consequential relationship in the world. The progress in the relationship since the San Francisco meeting demonstrates that the two sides can advance cooperation while responsibly managing differences.

President Biden reiterated that the United States does not seek a new Cold War, its objective is not to change China’s system, its alliances are not targeted against China, the US does not support “Taiwan independence,” and the US does not seek conflict with China. The US follows the one-China policy. It is in the interest of the world for China to succeed. The US does not want to curtail China’s development and does not seek “decoupling” from China. The US will send Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit China shortly to strengthen dialogue and communication, avoid miscalculation and promote cooperation, so as to advance the relationship on a stable path and jointly respond to global challenges.

The two presidents also exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and other issues.

The two presidents found the phone call to be candid and constructive. The two sides agreed to stay in communication and tasked their teams to deliver on the San Francisco vision, including advancing the consultation mechanisms on diplomatic, economic, financial, commercial and other issues as well as mil-to-mil communication, carrying out dialogue and cooperation in such areas as counter-narcotics, artificial intelligence and climate response, taking further steps to expand people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing communication on international and regional issues. The Chinese side welcomed visits to China by Treasury Secretary Yellen and Secretary of State Blinken in the near future.

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