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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping at the start of Monday night's virtual summit that he's looking forward to a "candid and forthright discussion" on how to establish "common-sense guardrails" between the world's two most powerful countries.

The big picture: Biden has repeatedly said that he likely knows Xi better than any world leader does, citing the dozens of hours that the two spent together while serving as vice presidents of their respective countries.

  • Amid growing tensions, Biden is hoping that personal diplomacy can help prevent what he calls "stiff competition" with China from spiraling into conflict.

Driving the news: Biden opened the virtual meeting on Monday night by telling Xi that the two men have “spent an awful lot of time talking to each other” over the years, and that they have "always communicated with one another very honestly and candidly."

  • "We have a responsibility to the world as well as to our people," Biden said, emphasizing the need to work together on climate change, for example.
  • He said that he planned to raise human rights, economics and the need to ensure a free and fair Indo-Pacific during the meeting.
  • Biden thanked Xi for his congratulatory call after the 2020 presidential election, before handing over to the Chinese leader to begin his remarks via a translation.

Xi told Biden that he was "very happy to see my old friend," and stressed the need for the U.S. and China to improve "communication and cooperation."

  • "Humanity lives in a global village, and we face multiple challenges together,” Xi said.
  • Chinese state media reported that Xi was likely to reject "interference" in China's domestic affairs, as has been the standard response to U.S. condemnations of Beijing's human rights abuses and aggression toward Taiwan.

Biden's delegation:

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
  • National security adviser Jake Sullivan
  • Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Kampbell
  • NSC senior director for China Laura Rosenberger
  • NSC director for China Jon Czin

Xi's delegation:

  • Director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee Ding Xuexiang
  • State Council Vice Premier Liu He
  • Foreign Affairs Director Yang Jiechi
  • State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
  • Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng

What to watch: Sullivan is expected to provide a public readout of the call at a Brookings Institution panel at 10am ET on Tuesday.

Go deeper

Dec 2, 2021 - Sports

IOC defends "quiet diplomacy" after 2nd Peng Shuai call

Peng Shuai during the Connecticut Open in August 2014. Photo: David Hahn/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it held a second video call with Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star who disappeared for weeks after accusing a former top government official of sexual assault.

Why it matters: During the call, the IOC and Peng agreed to an in-person meeting in January, though the committee did not disclose exactly when or where the meeting would take place, as it is unclear if the tennis star is currently allowed to travel outside of China.

Updated 36 mins ago - Health

Massage, facial, pedicure... intravenous drip?

A salon on the Upper East Side of New York that offers IV drip therapies. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

IV drips — the kind you might get if you're rushed to the hospital — are trending as a spa treatment, thanks in part to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.

Why it matters: Like other "wellness" trends with a whiff of medical imprimatur, IV nutrient drips can be harmless or mildly restorative — or go awry, particularly in the wrong hands.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

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