In the first phone conversation between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies in seven months, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday morning had a “candid, in-depth and extensive strategic communication and exchanges” with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as on major international and regional issues,” Xi told Biden.
White House officials said Biden initiated the 90-minute phone call, which is only the second of this kind since the U.S. president took office.
There had been high expectations for Biden to improve bilateral relations ever since he replaced former President Donald Trump in January.
Biden’s China journey four decades on
Biden came to China in 1979 as a member of the first delegation the U.S. Congress sent to China. The then senator said in a speech that China’s development was good for the United States.
He visited China again in 2011, and wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “a successful China can make our country [U.S.] more prosperous, not less.”
“On issues from global security to global economic growth, we share common challenges and responsibilities – and we have incentives to work together,” read the article titled “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise.”
In his first phone call with Xi on the eve of the Chinese New Year in February this year, Biden sent his greetings to the Chinese people. He said he was prepared to have candid and constructive dialogue with China in the spirit of mutual respect and to improve mutual understanding and avoid miscommunication and miscalculation.
Yet such goodwill failed to match up with the actions, according to Yuyuantantian, a public WeChat account that focuses on current affairs. And hostility has been particularly evident in the U.S. Congress.
In recent months, there have been more China-related bills in the U.S. Congress than ever before, with more than a dozen in July alone, most of which recommended the adoption of opposing or restrictive policies against China.
The U.S. has made a major strategic miscalculation on China, said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, as quoted in the Yuyuantantian article. “It mistakenly takes China as a major strategic competitor and believes whatever China does is aimed at undermining the U.S. leadership and dominating the international order.”
Xi has said China and the United States will have different views on some issues, but the key is to respect each other and treat each other as equals. But the U.S. has yet to learn to do that, according to Yuyuantantian.
‘Whether China, U.S. can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world’
China and the United States are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country, whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer, Xi said in the Friday phone conversation.
The two countries should bring relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world, he added.
How to get China-U.S. relations back on track has become a “must-solve problem,” Yuyuantantian commented, adding that the ball is now in the U.S. court.
Washington is gradually losing its reputation all around the world, the public account said. “If it really wants cooperation, it has to ‘get off its high horse,’ face the reality and start an open dialogue with China,” it added.