Chinese government official Hua Chunying evoked US President Abraham Lincoln, expressing hope for "better angels"

The thorny issue of how to approach relations with China will be at the top of President Biden’s foreign policy agenda.

The Trump administration was hostile to China, especially on trade and culpability for the coronavirus pandemic.

But, a day after President Biden’s inauguration, China has called for a reset in relations with the US.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said with co-operation from both sides, the “better angels” in China-US relations could beat what she described as “evil forces”.

However, on many fronts, significant differences remain, particularly on matters of trade and alleged human rights abuses.

On Wednesday, China announced a travel ban on more than two dozen members of the Trump administration, including the former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

His successor, Antony Blinken, has expressed interest in changing the tone of interactions with Beijing, although he supported Pompeo’s declaration that China’s treatment of Muslim Uighurs in its north-western Xinjiang region amounted to genocide.