U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday confirmed in phone talks the importance of enhanced high-level bilateral dialogue to stabilize relations while pressing their respective cases over topics such as territorial disputes in the South China Sea and Taiwan-related issues.

As part of efforts to boost communication, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will visit China on Thursday and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also travel there in the coming weeks, according to a U.S. government official.

The call followed a summit meeting between Biden and Xi last November near San Francisco, where they agreed to responsibly manage the competition between their nations and prevent unintended conflict.

U.S. President Joe Biden (L, Getty/Kyodo) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Kyodo)

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Washington will send Yellen and Blinken to "avoid miscalculation and promote cooperation, so as to advance the relationship on a stable path and jointly respond to global challenges."

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun will also talk over the phone "soon," the U.S. official said.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Biden and Xi talked for about 90 minutes.

"We believe that there is no substitute for regular communication at the leader level to effectively manage this complex and often-tense bilateral relationship," he said. "Both presidents agreed to pick up the phone and speak when needed."

Biden and Xi talked as Washington criticized Chinese coast guard actions against Philippine vessels in the South China Sea. Biden is scheduled to host a trilateral summit with the leaders of Japan and the Philippines on April 11 in Washington.

During Tuesday's talks with Xi, Biden emphasized the importance of "the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea," the White House said.

In the latest incident, which happened on March 23, the Chinese Coast Guard fired a water cannon at a Philippine vessel on a mission to the Manila-controlled Second Thomas Shoal in the area.

Biden and Xi held talks for the first time since Lai Ching-te of the Taiwanese ruling Democratic Progressive Party was elected in January to become the island's next president.

The Chinese ministry said Xi told Biden that "the Taiwan question is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations."

Taiwan and mainland China have been separately governed since they split due to a civil war in 1949. Beijing has condemned Lai, who is slated to assume the presidency in May, as an independence advocate.

Biden emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait during Tuesday's talks with Xi, the White House said. Washington continues to uphold its "one-China policy," under which it recognizes Beijing as the sole legal government of China, the official added.

The White House said Biden and Xi discussed counternarcotics cooperation and risks related to artificial intelligence.

The U.S. official said the two governments are working on addressing the scourge of illicit narcotics trafficking and aim to hold a bilateral meeting in the coming weeks on managing the risks and challenges posed by advanced forms of artificial intelligence.

In January, Biden's top security aide Jake Sullivan and China's top diplomat Wang Yi agreed in their meeting in Bangkok that the two countries would aim for telephone talks between their leaders in the spring.

Blinken and Wang agreed in Munich in February that senior officials should follow up on their discussions on North Korea and the Middle East as they met on the sidelines of a security conference.

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine has entered its third year, Biden "raised concerns" with Xi over China's support for Russia's defense industrial base and its impact on European and transatlantic security, the White House said.