President Joe Biden offered a first face-to-face summit with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in a call last week, but failed to secure a deal, the TBEN reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper quoted several people briefed on last Thursday’s call as saying that Xi had not accepted Biden’s offer and instead insisted that Washington adopt a less strident tone towards Beijing.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But a source who was among those briefed on the 90-minute Biden-Xi call confirmed the report to be accurate.
“Xi has apparently hinted that the tone and atmosphere of the relationship needs to be improved first,” the source said.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
The TBEN quoted one of its sources as saying that Biden had proposed the summit as one of several possibilities for follow-up engagement with Xi, and that he did not expect an immediate response.
He quoted a US official as saying that while Xi had not committed to the idea of a summit, the White House believed that was in part due to concerns about COVID-19.
The G20 summit in Italy in October has been raised as a possible venue for a face-to-face meeting, but Xi has not left China since the pandemic began early last year.
The call between Biden and Xi was their first in seven months, and they discussed the need to ensure that competition between the world’s two largest economies does not escalate into conflict.
An official U.S. briefing ahead of the conversation called it a test of whether high-level direct engagement could end what had become a stalemate in relationships, which are at their worst in decades.
The White House later said it intended to keep the channels of communication open, but did not announce any plans for a follow-up commitment.
Chinese state media said Xi told Biden that US policy toward China imposes “serious difficulties” on the relationship, but added that the two sides agreed to maintain frequent contact and ask work teams to intensify communications.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)