‘We have a responsibility to the world as well as to our peoples,’ says US president ahead of meeting with Xi Jinping.
WASHINGTON (AA) – President Joe Biden said Monday that the US and China need to establish “common-sense guardrails” as the world’s preeminent superpowers seek to manage a bilateral relationship increasingly defined by competition.
Speaking at the start of a long-awaited virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said collaboration between Washington and Beijing is particularly important on “vital global issues like climate change.”
“We have a responsibility to the world as well as to our peoples,” Biden said, anticipating a “candid and forthright discussion” with Xi.
“It seems to me our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that the competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended; just simple, straightforward competition.”
The virtual sit-down comes amid a host of strains on the US-Sino relationship, including what the US says is China’s increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan, its territorial claims in the South China Sea, and rights abuses committed against its minority Muslim Uyghur population.
Amid the laundry list of disputes, the nations have sought to find common ground on a handful of key issues, notably climate change, which they agreed to increasingly collaborate on last week during a UN summit.
Addressing reporters virtually from China, Xi also emphasized the need to establish the rules of the road between the rival nations, emphasizing “China and the United States need to increase communication and cooperation.”
“Right now, both China and the United States are at critical stages of development, and humanity lives in a global village, and we face multiple challenges together,” said Xi. “We should each run our domestic affairs well, and at the same time, shoulder our share of international responsibilities, and work together to advance the noble cause of world peace and development.”
Ahead of the meeting, the Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement that the US and China “have come to a crossroads,” describing the meeting as an opportunity for the leaders to have a “candid, in-depth and full exchange of views.”
“China hopes that the U.S. side will work with China to explore how our two major countries get along in the new era based on mutual respect and peaceful coexistence, increase dialogue and cooperation, effectively manage differences and properly handle sensitive issues, in a bid to steer the bilateral ties back on the right track of sound and steady development,” it said.