Chinese President Xi Jinping had a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden on the morning of Feb. 11. This was obviously Biden’s most anticipated call since he took office on Jan. 20. It’s regarded as the strategic focus of Biden’s phone call diplomacy after taking office.
Neither party disclosed the length of the call between the two country’s leaders. As for the content of the call, the Chinese news release disclosed more, whereas the statement from the White House was relatively short and selective. In short, the disclosures of both parties were in line with what the outside world had expected.
The most important point of this call is its timing, which was selected to occur on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Moreover, the U.S. briefing also stated that Biden expressed his new year’s blessings to the Chinese people as soon as he got on the call. This was widely regarded as a gesture of respect by Biden to Xi and China. He seems to want to use this kindness to balance out the harsh messages about China that have been delivered by the new U.S. administration recently, as well as the interpretation of those messages by the public.
Xi and Biden have had a lot of contact with each other and are thus very familiar with each other. This call signifies the continuation of the personal relationship between the two leaders, who each have an important position in the exchanges between major powers. It can be said that this is crucial in order for China and the U.S. to build mutual trust under the current circumstances, and also will allow people to communicate with China in the next four years. It is expected that this channel of communication will be more reliable than it was in the Donald Trump era.
There are undoubtedly some strategic differences between China and the United States, which were seriously magnified and intensified by the Trump administration. The Biden administration now stands at a crossroads of how to once again take control of these differences. Biden has previously stated that China and the United States need not be in conflict with each other, but they will engage in extremely fierce competition. The phone call between the leaders of the two countries on Lunar New Year’s Eve started with the two heads of state saying their new year’s greetings but once again verified Biden’s desire to compete with China — but the bottom line is that competition should not evolve into conflict.
The trend of complications in China-U.S. relations is becoming more and more obvious. The U.S. Department of Defense announced the establishment of a China Task Force on Feb. 10, to coordinate the policies and actions of various offices within the department. This is an unprecedented institutional arrangement for the U.S. military and will likely also have an impact on the overall U.S. policy toward China. There is a rising trend of friction points between China and the United States. Some elites in the United States feel “the tougher they are against China, the better.” Such development obviously means that the U.S. cannot bear strategic risks. Therefore, the Biden administration will have to take control of the differences between China and the United States and seriously discuss key issues with China.
The most important thing is how to treat the relationship between the friction and cooperation between the two countries, and whether or not the strategies of both sides can prevail. This will be the deciding factor in defining future China-U.S. relations. A win-win situation for China and the U.S. will be a victory for modern civilization and the wisdom of mankind. If the two countries end up in a serious conflict, it will also be a tragedy for all of mankind.
The top leaders of the two countries jointly demonstrated a gesture of goodwill to promote mutual understanding and control the differences between China and the United States on this special day. We hope that the societies of both countries can follow, and global public opinion will also give positive messages and support for this call.
About this publication