Biden and Xi met in a virtual summit

Mandel Ngan/AFP Via Getty Images

The U.S. and China struck a conciliatory tone Monday as President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for more than three hours in a virtual summit.

NPR’s White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez and Beijing correspondent Emily Feng joined Morning Edition to explain what was accomplished at the talks.

Xi began by calling Biden an “old friend,” despite high tensions between the two nations in recent years.

Biden stated one of the meeting’s goals was to ensure the two countries’ intense competition didn’t veer into an unintended military conflict. The White House reported the two leaders discussed climate change, the pandemic and economic practices, among other topics. The two also spoke about Hong Kong and China’s accused human rights abuses Xinjiang.

Although they touched on trade discussions, Ordoñez reports they gave no hint of ending Trump-era tariffs on Chinese businesses. The call indicates the two leaders would like to reduce tensions, but they will stay in disagreement on core issues such as human rights and tech competition, reports Feng.

Biden said the two leaders have a responsibility to “ensure that our competition between our countries does not veer into conflict.”

Xi noted, “China and the U.S. should respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation.”


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