US President Joe Biden and People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping spoke for the first time since February by phone on Thursday, in an effort to "responsibly manage the competition" between the two countries, according to the White House.
In a statement describing the call as a "broad, strategic discussion," the two leaders spoke "openly and straightforwardly" about areas where US and Chinese interests "converge," and areas where the two superpowers' "interests, values, and perspectives diverge."
According to the statement, the discussion "was part of the United States' ongoing effort to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the PRC."
The White House stated that Biden had "underscored the United States' enduring interest in peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world."
"The two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict," according to the White House.
The call is the first known conversation between the two leaders in since February. During their first call 7 months ago, the two spoke for two hours, according to Biden who warned that if the US doesn't "get moving, they are going to eat our lunch."
The call comes as the Biden administration has struggled to find its footing in a relationship with China that White House officials say they hope can be characterized simultaneously by competition and cooperation. The world's two largest economies have been sharply at odds over a raft of issues including cybersecurity, human rights and trade, among others.
A senior White House official was quoted as saying "We have found, unfortunately, that they (PRC) have largely been unwilling to engage in serious or substantive conversations on these matters. What we've gotten is the usual talking points, which are more designed for propaganda purposes than for serious diplomatic engagement."
In March, a summit was held in Alaska between senior US and Chinese diplomats. The meeting was completely unproductive for both sides, with the exception of the Chinese scoring a symbolic victory by humiliating the Biden administration on American soil.
Last week, John Kerry, Biden's special envoy for climate change, met with Chinese officials in Beijing with the goal of forging cooperation on reducing emissions. Kerry was repeatedly warned by the Chinese regarding what they referred to as the Biden administration’s antagonistic approach to China which would prevent chance for collaboration on climate change efforts.
Since the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban have announced partnerships with Beijing to rebuild the country. China has even hinted at taking over Bagram Air Base, which was abandoned by the US during the withdrawal.