Meetings between senior mainland and US officials in China this week struck an upbeat chord, with both sides agreeing to maintain communication lines.
Statements from Washington and Beijing on meetings between officials, including Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, were positive, describing the talks as candid and productive.
"The two sides conducted candid, constructive and fruitful communication on promoting the improvement of Sino-US relations and properly managing and controlling differences," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday of Kritenbrink's meetings.
Both sides also agreed to continue to communicate, according to the statement.
"The two sides had candid and productive discussions as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and build on recent high-level diplomacy between the two countries," the US State Department said late on Monday.
But the Global Times newspaper said even though the recent interactions between China and the United States showed both sides are trying to manage disputes, the risk of clashes will still rise if Washington does not cease its provocations and if it does not show sincerity in improving relations.
China and US ties have entered a "more complicated" phase – while China is willing to stabilise relations and is open to possible cooperation, it will also firmly fight back against the US provocations, wrote Global Times.
When speaking to reporters in Beijing on Tuesday about the current state of bilateral ties, Kritenbrink said: "We're working hard to manage the relationship as best as we possibly can."
On the odds of a meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Summit in San Francisco in November, he said: "I couldn't possibly say." (Reuters)