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US officials are working to arrange a possible call this summer between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to sources, with tensions high between the world’s two biggest economies.
Top Biden administration officials have emphasised the importance of putting “guard rails” on the relationship with Beijing to prevent disagreements from escalating into crisis. Ukraine, Taiwan and human rights are among the many sore points in US-China relations, and the two nations have been jockeying for greater influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We want stability in the relationship – that takes connecting,” US ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said Thursday at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution when asked about the state of play between the countries.
“Of course, our ultimate channel is the channel between our two presidents. So we’re conducting intensive diplomacy.”
A potential summer call could come as soon as July but any in-person meeting of the two leaders would wait until after China’s Communist Party congress late in the year. Xi – who is seeking to secure a third term as China’s leader – has also halted international travel since Covid-19 emerged more than two years ago.
Asked about a potential meeting, Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said in an email only that China and the United States “have smooth communications channels.” — Bloomberg