U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday — part of symbolic talks that signal support at the highest level for improving ties — just hours after China’s top diplomat said Washington and Beijing must choose between “cooperation or conflict.”

“State-to-state interactions should always be based on mutual respect and sincerity,” Xi said, according to Chinese state-run media. “I hope that Secretary Blinken, through this visit, could make a positive contribution to stabilizing China-U.S. relations.”

Xi said China had “made its position clear” in earlier talks between Blinken and senior Chinese officials, adding that “the two sides have agreed to follow through on the common understandings President (Joe) Biden and I had reached in Bali."