Nov. 14 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for more than four hours Wednesday in a high-stakes summit south of San Francisco, where the two leaders agreed to curb fentanyl, restore military-to-military direct contacts and explore the risks of artificial intelligence.
"I've just concluded a day of meetings with President Xi, and I believe they were some of the most constructive and productive discussions we've had," Biden wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, along with a photo of Biden, Xi and top administration officials.
"We built on groundwork laid over the past several months of diplomacy between our countries and made important progress," the president added.
I've just concluded a day of meetings with President Xi, and I believe they were some of the most constructive and productive discussions we've had.
Biden held a press conference after the summit and announced "three accomplishments," including "restarting cooperation" to reduce the amount of fentanyl shipped directly from China to the United States, which initially started in 2019.
"So, today with this new understanding, we're taking action to significantly reduce the flow of precursor chemicals and pill presses from China to the Western Hemisphere. It's going to save lives and I appreciate President Xi's commitment," Biden told reporters Wednesday night.
"Secondly, we're resuming military-to-military direct contacts," the president announced. "Vital miscalculations on either side can cause real trouble with a country like China or any other major country."
"Thirdly, we are going to get our experts together to discuss risk and safety issues associated with artificial intelligence," Biden announced. "These are tangible steps in the right direction."
During the summit, Biden and Xi reflected on their long relationship and their first meeting 12 years ago, when they were both vice presidents. While the two countries haven't always agreed, Biden lauded Wednesday's meeting as "candid, straightforward and useful."
"I value our conversation because I think it's paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication," Biden said.
For his part, Xi said the China-U.S. relationship is "the most important bilateral relationship in the world" and should be nurtured in a way that benefits everyone.
Both leaders agreed that conflict should not be an option for any interactions between the two nations.
"For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option. It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. Conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequence for both sides," Xi said, speaking through a translator.
While Biden and Xi worked to overcome miscommunications between Washington and Beijing, they discussed the ongoing wars in Europe and the Middle East, as well as the "most sensitive issue" of Taiwan, according to a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry who attended Wednesday's summit.
"President Xi pointed out that the Taiwan question remains the most important and most sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations," Hua Chunying, assistant minister of foreign affairs, wrote in a post on X.
After Wednesday's summit, Biden addressed Taiwan with reporters, saying he told Xi "we maintain an agreement that there is a one-China policy and that I'm not going to change that."
Biden also said he and President Xi discussed Taiwan's upcoming presidential election in January, and made clear to Xi that he did not expect any election interference.
Biden called his relationship with Xi "trust and verify" adding that we're in "a competitive relationship."
"I know the man," Biden said. "We have disagreements, but he has been straight."
The meeting, which was billed as the U.S.-PRC Leaders Summit and was not an official part of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), was the two leaders' first in a year amid growing tensions and mistrust between China and the United States over Taiwan, trade, the South China Sea and drug trafficking.
According to the White House, Biden wanted to focus on three things during his sideline summit with Xi.
"One, not only improve and increase American investment in the region, but the region's investment in the United States," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday, aboard Air Force One, which was en route to San Francisco.
"Number two, lifting up and looking towards a vision for better international worker standards, cleaner environments, safe environments, collective bargaining, a chance for international workers to be able to compete on a level playing field," Jean-Pierre added.
"And number three, building a more inclusive economy across the region."
The two leaders last met one year ago at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Wednesday's meeting also marked Xi's first visit to the United States since 2017.
While the meeting between Xi and Biden was not part of the summit, it was seen as vital for both leaders amid a backdrop of world conflicts including the Israel-Hamas war.
"Both sides need to avoid blowing each other up," former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rick Waters, the inaugural coordinator of the State Department's China House, said about the risk of conflict between the two countries. "That's the type of signal you need from a meeting like this."
Last month, Biden met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in what many believe was a precursor to Wednesday's summit with Xi.
According to the White House, Biden emphasized the "need to manage competition in the relationship responsibly and maintain open lines of communication."
"He underscored that the United States and China must work together to address global challenges," the administration said last month.
During a recent visit to Washington, D.C., Wang also held a two-day meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan to hash out international issues and state their positions.
On Tuesday, Blinken opened APEC -- a group of 21 countries that surround the Pacific Ocean -- and its summit in San Francisco where he welcomed leaders to the United States.
"Our engagement with APEC underscores the United States' enduring commitment to the vision that we all agreed in Malaysia in 2020: an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, one that enhances the prosperity of its people and future generations."