China and the United States agreed to maintain strategic communication and conduct regular consultations as the countries' leaders met face to face on Monday to chart the future direction of what is widely seen as the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden described their meeting on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on the eve of the G20 Summit as "in-depth, candid and constructive."
The leaders, who agreed to maintain regular contact, instructed their teams to promptly follow up and implement the important common understandings reached between them, and take concrete actions to put China-U.S. relations back on the track of steady development.
Taiwan 'the first red line'
During the first in-person talks between the two leaders since Biden took office in January 2021, Xi made clear China's principled position on the Taiwan question.
Describing it as at "the very core of China's core interests" and the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, he warned that the Taiwan question was the first red line that must not be crossed in bilateral ties.
Xi urged the U.S. to act on the assurance by Biden that Washington does not support "Taiwan independence" and has no intention to use Taiwan as a tool to seek advantages in competition with China or to contain China.
Biden reiterated that the United States does not support "Taiwan independence," does not support "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan."
China's strategic intentions 'open and transparent'
The meeting between the two heads of state came weeks after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Reflecting on the congress and its outcomes, Xi said the domestic and foreign policies of the CPC and the Chinese government are open and transparent, with clearly stated and transparent strategic intentions and great continuity and stability.
China does not seek to change the existing international order or interfere in the internal affairs of the U.S., and has no intention to challenge or displace it, he said.
The most important guardrail and safety net for China-U.S. relations is observing the basic norms of international relations and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, Xi stressed.
Biden noted that he has known President Xi for many years and maintained regular communication, but said there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting.
He congratulated Xi on his re-election as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and said that as two major countries, the United States and China have a responsibility to maintain a constructive relationship.
Biden reaffirmed that a stable and prosperous China is good for the U.S. and the world, saying that Washington respects China's system, does not seek to change it, and is neither seeking a new cold war nor to revitalize alliances against China.
(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in Bali, Indonesia, November 14, 2022. /Xinhua)