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Kamala Harris Briefly Meets Xi Jinping as US-China Tensions Ease

US Vice President Kamala Harris briefly met China’s Xi Jinping on Saturday in Bangkok, a White House official said, as leaders of the world’s biggest economies continue to cool tensions. 

Harris stressed the need for the US and China to maintain open lines of communication to responsibly manage competition, reiterating a message delivered by President Joe Biden in a landmark meeting with Xi on Monday, the official said. Biden and Xi agreed to restore dialogue across a range of sectors while meeting for more than three hours at an oceanside resort on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

In the meeting with Harris, Xi called his meeting with Biden “strategic and constructive, and gives important guidance to the next stage of Sino-US relations.”

“I hope both sides will step up mutual understanding, reduce misunderstanding and misjudgment, and together push for Sino-US relations to return to a health and stable track,” Xi said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. “I hope Madam Vice President can help actively with this.”

Both governments have sought to stem deteriorating ties over issues including Taiwan, human rights and technology restrictions. While those issues remain sticking points, the shift in tone helped lift Chinese stocks and the yuan.

“I’m not suggesting this is kumbaya, you know, everybody’s going to go away with everything in agreement,” Biden told reporters in Bali after his meeting with Xi. However, he added, “I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War.”

Harris is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand on behalf of Biden, who left Asia after the G-20. 

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