US President Joe Biden reflected on the state of his relationship with China’s President Xi Jinping following what he described as a constructive and productive meeting.
He said the talks with Xi were “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had.”
“We haven’t always agreed,” Biden said, but his talks with Xi are always “straightforward.”
Pressed on whether he trusts Xi, Biden said, “Trust but verify, as the old saying goes. That’s where I am,” describing the relationship between the US and China as “competitive.”
“My responsibility is to make this rational and manageable so it doesn’t result in conflict. That’s what I’m all about. … To find a place where we can come together and where we find mutual interest, and most importantly, in the interest of the American people. And that’s exactly what we’ll do,” he said during a news conference in the Bay Area on Wednesday.
Biden cultivated a deep relationship with Xi during their time as vice presidents that has since deteriorated. Still, he cast Xi as “straight.”
“I know the man, I know his modus operandi, looked into his eyes – we have disagreements. He has a different view than I have on a lot of things, but he’s been straight. I don’t mean that good, better, indifferent, just straight,” he said.
Biden said the leaders agreed to be willing to pick up the phone if either wants to talk going forward.
Biden says the two leaders agreed on curbing the flow of fentanyl, restoring military communication and working together on artificial intelligence during their four-hour summit.
Biden said the agreement from China to reduce precursor chemicals for fentanyl would “save lives” and said he appreciated Xi’s commitment on the issue.