Efforts to stabilize U.S.-China relations have not yet been successful, and the upcoming months will reveal whether it's possible to restore constructive diplomacy with Beijing, according to a senior White House official. U.S. Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell emphasized the importance of reviving "Cold War"-era hotlines and other crisis mechanisms during a time of increased tensions with China.

Campbell mentioned at a Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank event that the U.S. has communicated its readiness for another call between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He stated, "We're prepared and, from our perspective, we want to keep lines of communication open and it is our intention to keep those lines open."

Last month, Biden announced his intention to speak with Xi about a U.S. fighter jet shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon to clear the air. However, the call has yet to take place, and tensions have only escalated.

Campbell expressed concern that China has been "reluctant to engage in discussions around confidence-building or crisis communications, or hotlines." He believes it would be a "responsible step" to have such mechanisms in place, considering the proximity of Chinese and U.S. military forces. "We built those during the Cold War. We think that they're appropriate now," he added.

The U.S. is currently in the early stages of a new phase of competitive relations with China. Campbell referred to the U.S. priorities during Biden and Xi's last conversation at a meeting in Bali in November, saying that efforts to build a foundation and guardrails for the relationship have yet to be successful.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen's arrival in New York on Wednesday, en route to Central America, has contributed to heightened tensions. Tsai will stop in Los Angeles next week to meet U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a move China has warned could lead to a "serious confrontation" in U.S.-China relations.

Despite the war in Ukraine, Campbell said the U.S. is intensifying its focus on the Indo-Pacific, which will be reflected in budgets, engagements, aid, and assistance. He highlighted the importance of the U.S. relationship with India and expressed Washington's desire to see more Indian students in American universities and more Americans in Indian colleges.

Campbell also mentioned the United States' "ambitious agenda" for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum summit in November. Biden intends to introduce measures to demonstrate the U.S.'s commitment to playing a significant economic and commercial role in the region, in addition to its security, diplomatic, and political roles.