President Biden Speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping: A Look at the U.S.-China Relationship

President Joe Biden recently spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone call aimed at “checking in” and responsibly managing the strained relationship between the United States and China. The White House described the call as an opportunity for the two leaders to engage in intense diplomacy to address tensions, misperceptions, and prevent unintended conflicts. According to a senior administration official, managing intense competition between the two superpowers requires deliberate efforts to maintain stability and communication.

Agenda of the Call: U.S. Concerns Raised

During the phone call with Xi, Biden intended to raise a host of U.S. concerns, including the economic relationship between the two countries, tensions over Taiwan, China’s support for Russia in the Ukraine invasion, and the increasing cybersecurity threats leading up to the U.S. presidential election in November. This call marked the first direct phone meeting between Biden and Xi since July 2022, signifying a critical moment in the ongoing dialogue between the two nations.

Diplomatic Steps and Economic Discussions

Following the phone call, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is scheduled to depart for China to engage in face-to-face meetings with her counterparts in Guangzhou and Beijing over the course of five days. The purpose of these discussions is to address the deep challenges and disagreements in the U.S.-China economic relationship. Despite the existing tensions, a senior Treasury official emphasized that the economic ties between the two countries are now on a more stable foundation compared to two years ago.

In a recent speech, Yellen expressed concerns about China’s overproduction of clean energy products, such as solar panels, electric vehicles, and lithium-ion batteries. She warned that China’s surplus in these areas was flooding global markets and undercutting pricing in green industries that are still developing in countries like the United States. However, the Chinese embassy in Washington refuted these claims, denying any overcapacity in their production.

The U.S. Treasury Department has highlighted additional concerns about China’s financial practices, particularly the country’s alleged use of “early-stage” investments in U.S. tech sector companies to access sensitive data. These issues, along with the ongoing dialogue between economic leadership from both countries, are part of the Biden administration’s broader efforts to stabilize relations with China following years of strained communication. This breakdown initially began with the trade disputes during the Trump era and continued with Biden’s imposition of trade restrictions on China.

The recent phone call between President Biden and President Xi represents a significant step in addressing the complex relationship between the United States and China. As both nations navigate various challenges, including economic tensions, cybersecurity threats, and geopolitical issues, diplomatic efforts and ongoing dialogue are crucial in managing their interaction on the global stage.


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