Chinese state media touted the timing of the Thursday call, which came on the eve of the Lunar New Year – among the biggest holiday seasons in many Asian countries, including China.To get more China news, you can visit shine news official website.

"This was widely interpreted as a gesture that Biden showed respect for President Xi and China," according to an editorial by the English-language Global Times. "It seems that he was using such goodwill to balance the tough messages the new U.S. administration sent in recent days and various interpretations on those messages."Friday's editorial highlighted Xi's deep personal experience with Biden, who led a series of American delegations to Beijing – including one in 2011, when as vice president he was scheduled to meet with the Chinese leader five times. Biden himself has previously touted the value of their meetings, particularly for a leader like Xi, whose personal character remains relatively unknown globally while his grip on the levers of power at home steadily grows.

Their call on Thursday lasted for two hours – rare for a session between leaders of the world's most consequential powers. American readouts of the call said Biden challenged Xi on its recent military and human rights practices, with the president later saying that Beijing will "eat our lunch" on infrastructure spending if the U.S. does not do more to catch up.

The Biden administration has, however, also set out to establish a more amicable tone than the previous one, particularly following President Donald Trump's escalating vitriol toward China over the last year as he blamed Beijing for the fallout from the coronavirus within the U.S. Many of Trump's top advisers, particularly then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, made containing China a cornerstone of their tenures, and they perpetuated a trade war whose effects remain in place.

Though insisting the U.S. will embrace competition rather than combativeness, Biden has continued to take a hard line against Beijing, which the Global Times noted on Friday. On Thursday, the Pentagon expanded on the formation of a new, high-profile task force designed to study U.S. military policy toward China and how it might change.

"China is the No. 1 pacing challenge for the department," Defense spokesman John Kirby said Friday following the announcement of the new task force, to be led by longtime Biden staffer and China hand Ely Ratner.