Xi Jingping, the president of China, met with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, with both world leaders stressing the importance of re-establishing communications between their two powerful militaries.
In what was the first time that Xi and Biden have talked to each other in more than a year, they said China and U.S. have to have an open dialogue so that the two superpowers don’t end up getting into a major conflict.
As Biden said following the talks:
“We have to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict, and we also have to manage it responsibly, competition.”
The president said that previous talks he has held with Xi have been “candid, straightforward and useful.”
He said directly to Xi:
“I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication.”
For his part, Xi said that there’s been massive changes across the world since he last met with Biden back in November of 2022 in Indonesia. He also said that the relationship between the U.S. and China hasn’t always been “smooth sailing” over the last half-century, but “it has kept moving forward.”
“For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option. It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, and conflict and confrontation have terrible consequences for both sides. The world at large is big enough for the two countries to succeed.”
The meeting between Biden and Xi was held about 25 miles from where the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference took place in San Francisco.
While it was the first time they’ve both spoken since they met in Indonesia last year, it is the seventh time overall that the two world leaders have spoken. But, since that last meeting, a senior official in the White House has said that Biden has had no communication at all with Xi – no phone calls, emails or anything else.
That fact has come at a time when the relationship between the United States and China has sunk to the lowest it’s been in quite some time. There have been major incidents that have taken place in that time that have threatened for the two largest economies in the world to inch further toward conflict.
That includes China flying a spy balloon over the entire continental U.S. before America shot it down over the Atlantic Ocean. Hackers from China also stole 60,000 emails from a senior official at the State Department.
Plus, China has been threatening military action in the South China Sea, stationing many ships near Taiwan, which is still considers part of its country, as most western nations believe it’s a sovereign entity.
The talks between Biden and Xi are certainly a major step in the right direction in de-escalating those potential tensions.