China: Xi Jinping 'may lash out' while vulnerable says Chang

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The US President spoke with the Chinese leader for the first time in seven months on Thursday and the pair covered a range of economic, climate change and coronavirus issues, a Washington official said. The White House said Mr Biden and President Xi held a “broad and strategic discussion” and spoke of the importance to “ensure competition does not veer into conflict”.

A Washington official said President Biden raised concerns over China’s human rights record and maritime claims.

The insider added the US administration wanted further reassurances over the threats posed by cybersecurity and China’s nuclear programme.

In a statement, the White House said: “The two leaders had a broad, strategic discussion in which they discussed areas where our interests converge, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge.

“They agreed to engage on both sets of issues openly and straightforwardly.

“The two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”

Chinese state media described the talks as “candid” and “in-depth” between Mr Biden and President Xi.

Beijing is said to have raised concerns over US policy towards China – but President Xi is believed to have stopped short of requesting the removal of expensive trade tariffs.

The Chinese report added that both sides agreed to maintain frequent contact and to ask officials to increase communications.

A senior White House official said President Biden orchestrated the call after growing frustrated at the lack of high-level dialogue between the two nations.

President Xi held more regularly talks with former US President Donald Trump despite his hostile approach to China.

The leader of the Chinese Communist Party spoke to Mr Trump twice during his first six months in office.

He also made a personal visit to Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club in Florida.

Recent tensions between the two nations have spiralled over climate change policy.

Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said climate change was an “oasis” in China-US relations and could not be separated from broader disputes.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has today issued a warning to Washington and Beijing ahead of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow next month.

He said: “We understand that there are problems in the relations between the US and China.

“But those problems do not interfere with the needs of both the US and China to do everything possible to make sure that the COP is a success, independently of the relations between the two.”
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