Biden-Xi online summit underway

The leaders of the United States and China have begun bilateral talks with the aim of bridging a widening gap between the two nations.

Their first online summit comes amid growing tensions. The two leaders remain far apart on issues ranging from the economy to human rights.

But both US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are vowing to cooperate.

Biden said, "Our responsibility as leaders of China and United States, is to ensure that our competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended -- just simple and straight forward competition."

Xi said, "China and the United States should respect each other and coexist peacefully. We will build a win-win relationship, find common ground on various issues and move forward together with President Biden. That is the expectation held by the international community."

High on the agenda for these talks are concerns about economic competition and security.

Biden previously criticized China's actions to crush democratic protests in Hong Kong and intimidate Taiwan.

China was quick to push back even before the talks began. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, "In the past 40 years, the US stance on the Taiwan issue has changed and gone backwards. They are stepping away from common views established when our two countries normalized ties."

The White House, meanwhile, has stressed the relationship between Biden and Xi. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, "He is able to have candid discussion with the President Xi, someone with whom he can raise directly areas where we have concerns, whether it's security issue, whether it's economic issues, whether it is human rights issues."

Biden and Xi will also discuss ways to work together on climate change.

US and Chinese officials agreed to cooperate on cutting emissions during last week's UN climate talks.