The United States and China have agreed to hold a virtual summit of the leaders of the countries as Voice of America reported citing an administration official following high-level talks aimed at improving US-China relations.
Talks between US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi took place behind closed doors at an airport hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. This was the second meeting of officials: in March they held talks in Alaska, during which both sides exchanged quite harsh comments.
Both Beijing and Washington said the talks, which lasted six hours, were "constructive and frank." At the same time, the American side noted that the atmosphere of the meeting was very different from the tension that arose in Alaska.
"During today's conversation, we really reached an agreement in principle to hold a virtual bilateral meeting (summit) by the end of the year," a White House spokesman told.
However, according to an administration official, this meeting should not be seen as a thaw in relations.
“We are trying to achieve sustainability in the relationship between the United States and China, where we can actively compete with each other, exercising that competition responsibly,” the message said.
China reported that Yang told Sullivan that the confrontation was damaging both countries and the world.
"Both sides agreed to take action ... to strengthen strategic interaction, proper settlement of differences, prevention of conflicts of confrontation," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
In a White House statement, Sullivan expressed concern about Beijing's actions in the South China Sea, as well as Beijing's human rights and stance towards Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan.
"Sullivan made it clear that while we will continue to invest in our own national strength and work closely with our allies and partners, we will also continue to engage with the PRC at the highest level to ensure responsible competition," the publication notes with reference to the White House.
Earlier, the US and several allies have publicly blamed China for an array of “malicious cyber activities,” including the massive attack on Microsoft Exchange email servers earlier this year.