The United States is looking for a competition with China in a responsible way, the White House has said, a day after the two countries agreed to have a virtual leadership summit before year-end.
"We're not looking for a conflict with China; we're looking for a competition, and we want to do that in a responsible way," White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday aboard Air Force One travelling to President Joe Biden to Chicago.
A day earlier, White House officials said that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during a meeting with Chinese Communist Party Politburo Member and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi in Zurich agreed in-principle for a virtual summit meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Biden Administration believes that a leader-to-leader engagement is essential and is an important part of its effort to responsibly manage the competition, Jean-Pierre said.
"As far as the meeting that Jake Sullivan had with his counterpart, with the -- in Zurich, they were candid, they were direct, they were wide-ranging," she said.
Biden had a long call with the Chinese president on September 9.
"The September 9th POTUS-Xi call was about ensuring we have open lines of communications, as I was just mentioning. The two leaders discussed the importance of having more substantive conversation than we had been to date, including the need to do so in private," she said.
"But we stand at a time, we are interested in seeing where it could go. That's what this meeting was about: continuing the conversation from leaders. National Security Advisor Sullivan raised areas where the United States and PRC have an interest in working together to address vital transactional challenges and ways to manage risk in our relationship," Jean-Pierre said.