July 27 (UPI) -- China said Beijing and Washington "enhanced mutual understanding" a day after a meeting between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlighted differing approaches to human rights and foreign policy.
The statement came on the same day U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in Singapore that he is committed to "constructive, stable" relations with Beijing.
Chinese diplomatic spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday at a regular press briefing that Sherman and Wang, and Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng, had "deep and thorough conversations" over six hours of meetings.
The encounter was "another important diplomatic interaction between China and the United States after the dialogue in Anchorage," Zhao said.
But the Chinese spokesman also said bilateral relations are facing "severe difficulties and challenges."
To improve ties, China provided the United States with "16 items detailing erroneous U.S. policies, words and actions that should be redressed, another containing 10 key individual cases of particular concern," Zhao said, referring to disagreements over the origins of COVID-19, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.
Sherman had said Monday that the two sides were "quite direct with each other on the areas of great difference."
Zhao said Tuesday the Biden administration was "inheriting its predecessor's erroneous China policy," a reference to the administration of former President Donald Trump. Trump placed tariffs on $350 billion of Chinese-made goods and raised tensions with Beijing. President Joe Biden has largely left the tariffs intact.
Overall tensions have yet to subside, but the U.S. military could be taking a different approach.
Austin said in a visit to Singapore Tuesday that he is committed to a constructive relationship with China, Al Jazeera reported.
"We will not flinch when our interests are threatened. Yet we do not seek confrontation," Austin said.
"I am committed to pursuing a constructive, stable relationship with China, including stronger crisis communications with the People's Liberation Army."
Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have not met since Biden took office in January.