Xi Jinping met Joe Biden during his visit to the US in 2012 – Photo: AFP
“The two leaders discussed a range of transnational issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its origins. This is also an issue of primary concern for the current US administration, but I will not going into details,” Ms. Psaki confirmed at a press conference on the morning of September 11 (Vietnam time).
President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation for about an hour and a half on September 10. This was the second phone call since Biden took office and the first in seven months.
Ms. Psaki described the phone conversation as taking place in a respectful and frank manner, without explanation or condescension, in order to keep the communication channels between the two sides open.
According to the White House press secretary, climate and human rights are among the topics covered next to the economy. However, these are not the main issues of the call. “This call is not intended to produce an end result,” Psaki further explained.
Earlier, late on September 10, China’s Foreign Ministry provided an official summary of the phone call. In it, Mr. Xi called on the US and China to jointly manage their differences for the benefit of the people of both sides and the world.
The Chinese leader also cited an ancient poem to compare the meaning of cooperation between the two countries. According to Xi, in the context of the world facing many difficulties, China and the US “need to show a broad vision and shoulder great responsibilities”.
The Chinese leader also said that the two sides can cooperate in the field of climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as regional and international issues.
However, Xi stressed that such cooperation can only continue “on the basis of respecting core concerns and properly managing differences”. The statement ended without mentioning the origin of COVID-19 or future investigations.
The Biden administration has pursued a dual approach to China. On the one hand, the US challenges and confronts China for its actions that it considers not in compliance with international law.
On the other hand, Washington seeks cooperation with Beijing on issues such as global climate change because it believes that this is an area of mutual interest and mutual benefit.
Senior Chinese diplomatic officials welcomed cooperation with the US on climate change, but said that coordination should not be separated from other issues in bilateral relations.