The White House said during the call, Biden "made clear" his intention to "responsibly manage" competition between Beijing and Washington, D.C. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 10 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden spoke by phone late Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time in seven months, amid what experts say is one of the lowest points in years for U.S.-China relations.
Biden initiated the 90-minute call and the White House said the pair discussed topics that included cyber issues and overall relations.
The call was the first between Biden and Xi since immediately after the U.S. president took office early this year.
Administration officials said the conversation was "respectful," "familiar" and "candid," according to CNN.
"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 in a statement. "They agreed to engage on both sets of issues openly and straightforwardly."
The White House added that Biden "made clear" his intention to "responsibly manage" competition between Beijing and Washington, D.C.
"Biden underscored the United States' enduring interest in peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world and the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict," the White House noted.
According to China's state-run Global Times, Xi blamed the U.S. policy on China for "serious difficulties" in bilateral relations.
"When China and the [United States] work together, both countries and the world will benefit," Xi said, according to the Times. "Both countries and the world will suffer if the two confront each other,"
Xi said getting the ongoing diplomatic relationship "right" is not an option, but is "something we must do and must do well."
"The policies that the United States has adopted toward China for some period of time have pushed Chinese-U.S. relations into serious difficulties," Xi added, according to a summary of the call by Beijing's foreign ministry.
"Whether China and the United States can properly handle mutual relations is a question for the century that concerns the fate of the world, and both countries must answer it."
Relations deteriorated under former President Donald Trump, who initiated a trade war with China that led to billions of dollars worth of tariffs. Trump's administration also heaped heavy blame on China for the COVID-19 outbreak and banned Chinese social media companies, including TikTok, along federal channels under the guise of national security.
The poor relations have continued under Biden to include disagreements over Beijing's actions in the South China Sea and cyberattack activities.