Top-Secret Phone Call: Inside Biden's High-Stakes Call With China's Xi

By Maria Angelino | Wednesday, 03 April 2024 08:30 PM
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U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping engaged in a telephone conversation on Tuesday, marking their first direct exchange since their in-person meeting in California last November.

Despite the underlying mistrust between the United States and China, the leaders of the world's largest economies have maintained a facade of diplomatic stability. Both nations have been implementing export controls, sanctions, and tariffs, while also seeking common ground on various issues such as artificial intelligence risks and the fight against illicit drugs like fentanyl.

A senior administration official, who briefed reporters, disclosed that Biden was anticipated to urge Xi to intensify efforts in combating narcotics. The discussion was also set to cover advancements made since November in restricting the flow of precursor chemicals used in manufacturing synthetic drugs.

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Furthermore, Biden planned to emphasize to Xi the importance of China leveraging its influence with Russia and Iran to promote stability, particularly concerning the conflict in Ukraine and the unrest in the Middle East. The President intended to address concerns regarding Chinese actions in the South China Sea, including a recent incident where Chinese vessels sprayed water cannons at a Philippine supply boat.

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Following their agreement in November to enhance communication, the two leaders have committed to more regular dialogues. This move comes after a year since their last one-on-one conversation, which occurred amidst tensions, including a Chinese balloon drifting into U.S. airspace. Biden's upcoming re-election bid against Donald Trump, who initiated a trade war with China during his presidency and has proposed substantial tariffs on Chinese imports if re-elected, adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing U.S.-China relations.

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