President Joe Biden held a conciliatory phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, and it likely won’t appease Americans who want the U.S. to take a stronger stance against the communist nation.
According to Fox News, one senior administration official said the call, which was initiated by Biden, lasted about 90 minutes.
The official said the tone of the leaders’ talk was “familiar and candid,” in Fox’s words, and the topics of the conversation were said to be “wide-ranging.”
“Manage the competition”
In a statement later Thursday, the White House said Biden and Xi had a “broad, strategic discussion.”
“The two leaders had a broad, strategic discussion in which they discussed areas where our interests converge, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge,” the White House said. “They agreed to engage on both sets of issues openly and straightforwardly.”
The White House also said Biden “made clear” that the call came as “part of the United States’ ongoing effort to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the [People’s Republic of China (PRC)].”
“President Biden underscored the United States’ enduring interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world,” the statement added, “and the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”
“Guardrails and parameters”
The senior Biden official who spoke with Fox said the president laid out during the call “guardrails and parameters” for America’s relationship with China.
The president is said to hope for open lines of communication with the communist country.
The White House official also reportedly stressed the importance of the U.S. “being clear about priorities and intentions” with China “so that they are not misinterpreted.”
“These are the kind of principles we think guardrails should be [built] on — those are the things on the president’s mind,” the unnamed official said, according to Fox.
The statements — both on and off the record — make clear that President Biden and others in his administration are taking a different approach to China than their predecessors in the White House. But while Democrats may believe former President Donald Trump’s hardline stance was ineffective, they seem more than happy to let China to regain the upper hand.