President Biden told Chinese Leader Xi Jinping before the meeting that he hoped to talk openly about human rights and security issues. The virtual summit is designed to reduce tensions between the two world superpowers.

“Maybe I should start more formally, although you and I have never been formal with each other,” Joe Biden told Xi Jinping during a video conference.

The Chinese leader noted that he was very glad to see Joe Biden, whom he called an “old friend,” and said that both sides should strengthen interaction and cooperation to solve the many problems they face.

The U.S. President added that the two leaders should ensure that their relations do not escalate into an open conflict, including by establishing the boundaries of “common sense.” He promised to discuss issues of concern to Washington, including human rights and other issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

The first moments of the two leaders’ video conference were watched by a small group of journalists who joined Biden in the conference room of the West Wing of the White House before the heads of state began face-to-face negotiations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his readiness to work together with the U.S. President to reach a consensus for the positive development of relations between the two countries.

In his opinion, China and the United States, as the two largest economies in the world, should respect each other and solve not only their internal affairs but also fulfill international obligations. Therefore, healthy and stable relations between the two countries are the key to maintaining a stable situation around the world and the ability to respond effectively to global challenges.

“Xi Jinping expressed readiness to work with President Biden to build consensus and take active steps to promote relations between China and the United States in a positive direction,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Biden expressed hope that next time he will personally meet with Xi Jinping.