China rebuffs US President Biden’s offer to hold in-person summit: Report
“Multiple people briefed on the call said the Chinese leader did not take him up on the offer and instead insisted Washington adopt a less strident tone towards Beijing,” the Financial Times reported.
China’s president recently rebuffed an offer from US President Joe Biden to hold an in-person meeting, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.
Biden and Xi Jinping held a 90-minute phone call last week. and the White House said the pair “had a broad, strategic discussion.”
“They agreed to engage on both sets of issues openly and straightforwardly,” the statement read after the Sept. 9 phone call.
But according to sources briefed on the call, Biden suggested the two leaders meet in person. “Multiple people briefed on the call said the Chinese leader did not take him up on the offer and instead insisted Washington adopt a less strident tone towards Beijing,” FT reported.
Ties between Washington and Beijing have soured in recent years, especially during the Trump administration.
Biden has kept up the pressure on China with senior officials in administration citing Beijing, Russia and Iran as the biggest threats to US interests.
During one of the first meetings between senior Biden officials and their Chinese counterparts, a war of words was captured by journalists covering the meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.
Biden has also pressed China on being more open and transparent with investigations into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which is believed to have started in Wuhan.
According to the FT and people briefed on the recent call, China’s president told Biden that the US needed to “tone down its rhetoric.”
“One US official briefed on the conversation said that while Xi did not engage with the idea of a summit, the White House believed this was partly due to concerns about Covid-19. Xi has not left China since he went to Myanmar in early 2020 before the outbreak of the pandemic,” the FT reported.
Another source quoted by the FT said a video call between Biden and Xi, “a step up from a phone call,” could be in the making.