Biden says phone call with China President Xi Jinping lasted two hours

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Feb 11, 2021, 10:18 PM(IST)

US President Joe Biden (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping Photograph:( Reuters )

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This is being seen as an unusually long interaction for a US president with his Chinese counterparts, with whom even face-to-face meetings rarely stretch beyond an hour.

US President Joe Biden has said his first phone call with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping since taking office lasted two hours.

"Last night, I was in the phone for two straight hours with Xi Jinping," Biden told reporters on Thursday.

This is being seen as an unusually long interaction for a US president with his Chinese counterparts, with whom even face-to-face meetings rarely stretch beyond an hour.

Biden warned afterwards that if the United States doesn't "get moving" on China policy, "they're going to eat our lunch."

The new American president said he challenged Xi on human rights, trade and regional muscle-flexing during the call, which aimed at setting the tone for the US-China relationship.

Beijing has tested US ties since Xi came to power, and under former president Donald Trump found itself on the receiving end of trade tariffs as relations frayed. Biden -- who met Xi during his time as vice president under Barack Obama -- hence, is under pressure to maintain Trump's stance.

Also read | In first phone call to President Xi, Biden asserts importance of Indo-Pacific; Xinjiang human rights abuses

Earlier on Wednesday, the White House said Biden "underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing's coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan," during the call. 

The two leaders also spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and weapons proliferation, the White House added.

"I told him I will work with China when it benefits the American people," Biden tweeted after the call.

China's state broadcaster CCTV said that the two "had an in-depth exchange of views on the bilateral relationship and major international and regional issues", the BBC reported.

Xi also warned Biden that bad relations would be a disaster for both countries, Chinese media reported.

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