Biden and China’s Xi speak by phone for first time since February By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool//File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden spoke by phone with China’s leader Xi Jinping on Thursday, the White House said, ending a nearly seven-month gap in direct communication between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies.

A White House statement said the two leaders had “a broad, strategic discussion,” including “areas where our interests converge, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge.”

It said Biden and Xi also “discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”

Relations between Washington and Beijing have been at their lowest point in decades and it was only the second call between the leaders since Biden took office in January.

Occasional high-level meetings since Xi and Biden’s first call in February have yielded scant progress on a slew of issues, from climate change, to human rights, and transparency over the origins of COVID-19.

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