U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping reached a deal to resume high-level military-to-military talks during their first meeting in a year Wednesday in the San Francisco Bay Area, as their countries looked to stabilize a relationship that has been in freefall amid fears it could devolve into outright conflict.

"We're going to continue to preserve and pursue high-level diplomacy with (China) in both directions to keep the lines of communication open, including between President Xi and me,” Biden told reporters after the talks at the Filoli estate, south of San Francisco. “He and I agreed that each one of us could pick up the phone and call directly and we'd be heard immediately."

Biden called the talks “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had,” adding that the two leaders had made “some important progress” in improving a relationship that had soured over a broad array of security, technology and rights concerns