President Joe Biden on Monday told Chinese President Xi Jinping that their responsibility as leaders of the United States and China is to ensure that competition between their nations “does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended.”
Speaking at the start of a virtual summit with his Chinese counterpart, Biden said the relationship between the world’s two largest economies should be one of “simple and direct competition,” and suggested that he and Mr. Xi needed to set guidelines for that competition.
“It seems to me that we need to create some logical barriers, to be clear and honest when we disagree, and to work together where our interests intersect, particularly on vital global issues like climate change,” Biden said, calling the creation of such restrictions “responsible global leadership.”
“We have a responsibility to the world, as well as to our people. That is why we believe… all countries must play the same rules of the road,” he continued, adding later that this belief is why the United States will “always defend… our interests, our values, and those of our allies and partners.
Mr. Xi replied, through an interpreter, that the two countries “face multiple challenges together” and should “increase communication and cooperation”, both as the world’s two largest economies and as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
“There is a need for a healthy and stable relationship between China and the United States to promote the development of our two countries and to safeguard a peaceful and stable international environment, including finding effective responses to global challenges such as climate change… and the COVID epidemic,” said Mr. Xi. .
Monday’s virtual meeting was the first direct contact between Biden and Mr. Xi since he took office in January, although the two leaders made several phone calls. The meeting was held via a secure video conference because Mr. Xi had not left Chinese territory in more than two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.