Major differences divide what are by many measures the world’s two most powerful nations as they jostle for what each sees as its rightful place in the world order

In a relationship as fraught as America’s and China’s, just an agreement that talks were productive was a sign of progress, AP reports.

Nine months into Joe Biden’s presidency, the two sides finally appear to be trying to ease tensions that date from the Trump administration — though U.S. complaints about Chinese policies on trade, Taiwan and other issues are little diminished.

A closed-door meeting in Zurich on Wednesday between senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan was not accompanied by the public acrimony on display at earlier meetings.

After the six-hour talks, the U.S. disclosed an agreement in principle for a virtual summit between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping by the end of the year. The two have talked by phone twice since Biden became president in January but not held a formal meeting.

Major differences divide what are by many measures the world’s two most powerful nations as they jostle for what each sees as its rightful place in the world order. Some differences over regional security and trade and technology may be irreconcilable, but successful talks could manage them and prevent any spillover that impedes cooperation in other areas such as climate change.

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