Washington: President Joe Biden proposed a first face-to-face summit with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in a call last week, but failed to secure an agreement, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, an account later denied by the White House.
“This is not an accurate portrayal of the call. Period,” Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said in a statement.
The Financial Times cited multiple people briefed on last Thursday’s 90-minute call as saying Xi did not take Biden up on the offer and instead insisted that Washington adopt a less strident tone toward Beijing.
A source who was among those briefed on the call confirmed the report was accurate.
“Xi apparently intimated that the tone and atmosphere of the relationship needed to be improved first,” the source told Reuters.
China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond when asked to comment.
The Financial Times quoted one of its sources as saying Biden had floated the summit as one of several possibilities for follow-on engagement with Xi, and he had not expected an immediate response.
It cited one US official as saying that while Xi did not engage with the idea of a summit, the White House believed that was partly due to concerns about COVID-19.