Blinken previously met with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who also attended the meeting with Xi.

State Department officials had said the two countries were unlikely to make any progress during Blinken’s trip, which had originally been planned for February but was postponed after the discovery of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over US soil.

China, while stressing the importance of resuming high-level communication, also expressed less enthusiasm ahead of Blinken’s visit this week than before the previous trip was postponed.

But it could set the stage for a meeting later this year between Biden and Xi, who last met in Indonesia last November on the sidelines of a Group of 20 major economies summit.

Biden told reporters on Saturday that he expected to meet with Xi in the coming months to discuss «the legitimate differences that we have, but also how there are areas where we can get along.»

After arriving on Sunday, Blinken met with Qin, China’s foreign minister, for talks that both sides described as «frank» and «constructive.» Those talks lasted nearly six hours, followed by a two-hour working dinner, according to senior State Department officials.

The two countries said that Qin, who was previously the Chinese ambassador to the United States, accepted an invitation from Blinken to visit the United States at a mutually convenient time.

Blinken’s meeting with Xi capped two days of talks with senior Chinese officials. Leah Millis / AFP – Getty Images

Blinken then had a three-hour meeting on Monday with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, which appeared to be a bit more confrontational.

Wang blamed the US’s «misperceptions» of China for the poor relations between the two countries, saying Washington had to choose «between dialogue and confrontation, and cooperation and conflict.»

He said it was important to reverse the «downward spiral» in the relationship, return it to a healthy and stable path, and «together explore the right way for China and the United States to get along in the new era.»

Wang called for the US to lift sanctions on Chinese entities and stop stifling China’s technological development, a reference to US export controls on semiconductor technology. He also stressed China’s position on Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that Beijing claims as its territory and whose status is one of the biggest flashpoints in US-China relations.

China has accused the United States, Taiwan’s most important international backer, of promoting Taiwan’s independence through official exchanges between the island’s president and senior US officials, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her successor, Kevin McCarthy. The Biden administration denies that US policy on Taiwan has changed.

On the Taiwan issue, “China has no room for compromise or concessions,” the reading said.

Blinken “stressed the importance of responsibly managing competition between the United States and [China] through open channels of communication to ensure that competition does not become conflict,» State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

The secretary also «reiterated that the United States will continue to use diplomacy to raise areas of concern and defend the interests and values ​​of the American people.»

Evelyn Cheng, CNBC, murphy zhao and abigail williams contributed.