BEIJING (Reuters) -- Chinese leader Xi Jinping said during a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on the Indonesian island of Bali that the current state of China-U.S. relations was not in the interests of both countries and that they needed to ‘steer the rudder’, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
In the first in-person talks between both leaders since Biden became president, Xi also said that statesmen should think about and clarify the direction of development of their own countries, as well as consider and clarify the way to get along with other countries and the world.
Ahead of their first in-person talks since Biden became president, the two leaders smiled and shook hands warmly in front of their national flags at a luxury hotel, a day before a Group of 20 (G20) summit set to be fraught with tension over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s just great to see you,” Biden told Xi, as he put an arm around him, before a meeting that lasted a little over three hours.
Biden said beforehand he was committed to keeping lines of communication open on a personal and government level.
“As the leaders of our two nations, we share responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from turning into conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation,” Biden said in remarks delivered in front of reporters.
U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken will travel to follow up on the discussions, the White House said.
Neither leader wore a mask to ward off COVID, though members of their delegations did.
Responding to Biden, Xi said the relationship between their two countries was not meeting global expectations.
“So we need to chart the right course for the China-U.S. relationship. We need to find the right direction for the bilateral relationship going forward and elevate the relationship,” Xi said.
“The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship,” he said, adding he looked forward to working with Biden to bring the relationship back on the right track.
There was some early drama in Bali surrounding Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who scolded Western media over a report that said he had been taken to a local hospital, suffering with a heart condition.
“This is a kind of game that is not new in politics,” Lavrov said in with an ironic smile. “Western journalists need to be more truthful.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called it “the height of fakery” and posted a video of Lavrov sitting outdoors dressed in shorts and a T-shirt and reading documents.