Washington and Beijing will restore communication channels between their respective militaries, US President Joe Biden told reporters following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the San Francisco Bay area on Wednesday.
“We’re back to direct, open, clear, direct communications,” Biden said, adding that the contacts would help avoid accidents and misunderstandings during a period of tense relations between the two nuclear-armed states.
“Vital miscalculations on either side can cause real, real trouble with a country like China or any other major country.”
Biden added that the talks with Xi were “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had,” while acknowledging that the sides still have disagreements.
According to China’s state-run Global Times newspaper, the contacts “based on equality and respect” will include working meetings between defense departments and a bilateral “maritime security consultation mechanism.”
“China does not have a plan to surpass or unseat the United States. Likewise, the United States should not scheme to suppress and contain China,” Xi told Biden, according to Xinhua.
The US and China have clashed over Taiwan and accused each other of stirring up tensions in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. Relations deteriorated further in early 2023 when the Pentagon claimed Beijing had flown a spy balloon over American territory.
China, meanwhile, insisted that the airship was a weather balloon that had veered off course. The sides later traded accusations of dangerous military maneuvers involving fighter jets and warships.