Chinese, U.S. presidents hold phone talks

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Agency Report

On Tuesday evening, President Xi Jinping spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden on the phone at the latter’s request. The two presidents had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and issues of mutual interest.

Xi recalled his meeting with President Biden in San Francisco last November, saying it opened a future-oriented San Francisco vision.

Over the past months, officials from the two sides have acted on the presidential understandings in earnest, Xi said, adding that the China-U.S. relationship is beginning to stabilize, which is welcomed by both societies and the international community.

However, Xi said the negative factors of the relationship have also been growing, and this requires attention from both sides.

President Xi noted that the issue of strategic perception is always fundamental to the China-U.S. relationship, “just like the first button of a shirt that must be put right.”

The Chinese president said that two large countries, China and the U.S., should not cut off their ties or turn their backs on each other, much less slide into conflict or confrontation. He called on the two sides to respect each other, coexist in peace, and pursue win-win cooperation. The relationship should continue moving forward in a stable, sound, and sustainable way rather than going backward.

Xi underlined three overarching principles that should guide China-U.S. relations in 2024.

“First, peace must be valued. The two sides should put a floor of no conflict and no confrontation under the relationship and keep reinforcing the positive outlook of the relationship,” he said.

Second, stability must be prioritized. He said the two sides should refrain from setting the relationship back, provoking incidents or crossing the line to maintain the overall stability of the relationship.

Third, credibility must be upheld. Xi said the two sides should honor their commitments to each other with action and turn the “San Francisco Vision” into reality.

He added that the two sides need to strengthen dialogue in a mutually respectful way, manage differences prudently, advance cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit, and step up coordination on international affairs in a responsible way.

Xi made it clear that “China is not going to sit on its hands” in the face of “Taiwan independence” separatist activities and external encouragement and support for them.

Noting that the U.S. side has adopted a string of measures to suppress China’s trade and technology development and is adding more and more Chinese entities to its sanctions lists, Xi said, “This is not ‘de-risking’ but creating risks.”

“If the U.S. side is willing to seek mutually beneficial cooperation and share in China’s development dividends, it will always find China’s door open. But if it is adamant on containing China’s hi-tech development and depriving China of its legitimate right to development, China is not going to sit back and watch,” he said.

Xi also elaborated on China’s position on issues related to Hong Kong, human rights and the South China Sea.

For his part, Biden said the U.S.-China relationship is the most consequential relationship in the world.

Biden noted that the progress made in bilateral relations since the San Francisco meeting demonstrates that both sides can actively advance cooperation while managing differences responsibly.

He reiterated that the U.S. does not seek a new Cold War. Its objective is not to change China’s system, its alliances are not targeted against China, the U.S. does not support “Taiwan independence,” and the U.S. does not seek conflict with China, he said.

Biden said the U.S. adheres to the one-China policy, adding that China’s development is beneficial to the world, and the U.S. does not seek to curtail China’s development or “decouple” from China.

He said the U.S. will send Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit China shortly to strengthen dialogue and communication, avoid miscalculation, and promote cooperation to advance the relationship on a stable path and jointly respond to global challenges.

According to the statement released by the Chinese side, the two heads of state also exchanged views on issues such as the Ukraine crisis and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The two presidents found the phone call to be candid and constructive, the statement said.

The two sides agreed to stay in communication and tasked their teams to deliver on the San Francisco vision, including advancing the consultation mechanisms on diplomatic, economic, financial, commercial and other issues, as well as military-to-military communication, carrying out dialogue and cooperation in areas such as counternarcotics, artificial intelligence and climate response, taking further steps to expand people-to-people exchanges and enhancing communication on international and regional issues.

The statement said the Chinese side welcomed Treasury Secretary Yellen and Secretary of State Blinken’s visits to China.

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