Xi, Biden engagement essential to fixing ties, analysts say

"It's essential that the two leaders speak often and use their long personal relationship to resolve commercial and other disputes," said Douglas Barry, senior director of communications and publications at the US-China Business Council.

"The current impasse will not be resolved without their involvement," Barry told China Daily, adding, "That said, there needs to be engagement at many technical levels and more participation of the business communities."

Barry said more regular calls leading to face-to-face discussions are needed on possible topics, such as what happens with the Phase One trade agreement expiring at the end of the year; what's required of both countries to lift or reduce punitive tariffs; and what the plan is for cooperating on existential threats such as global warming and pandemics.

"The status quo will remain or deteriorate further unless the two presidents become more engaged and with a greater sense of urgency," he said.