United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday refuted a media report that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, had turned down a face-to-face meeting with Biden last week.
According to numerous sources briefed on a 90-minute discussion between the two leaders last week, Xi did not accept Biden's offer and instead urged that Washington adopt a more conciliatory tone toward Beijing. "It's not accurate," Biden responded when reporters asked whether he was unhappy that Xi refused to meet with him.

Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security advisor, stated earlier on Tuesday that the storey was true "This is not an accurate depiction of the call. Period." A person who was among those informed on the call verified the accuracy of the claim. "Xi implied that the tone and environment of the relationship needed to be changed first," a source said.

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When contacted for comment, China's embassy in Washington did not immediately react. According to the sources, Biden proposed the summit as one of several options for further interaction with Xi, and he did not expect an instant reaction. According to one US source, while Xi did not engage with the notion of a meeting, the White House felt this was due in part to worries over COVID-19.

The G20 conference in Italy in October has been mentioned as a prospective location for a face-to-face encounter. However, Xi had not left China since the pandemic's breakout early last year. The chat was Biden and Xi's first in seven months, and they addressed the need of preventing rivalry between the world's two largest economies from devolving into violence. A US official briefed before the discussion described it as a test of whether direct top-level interaction might break what had become a stalemate in relations, which are at their lowest point in decades. The White House stated afterwards that it was meant to maintain avenues of communication open, but no arrangements for follow-up encounters have been revealed.

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from asianetnews

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