Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said the path to a meeting between President Xi Jinping and Joe Biden was "not smooth", state media reported as the top diplomat wrapped up a rare visit to Washington.
Wang met with Biden and other senior US officials this week, with both sides agreeing on Friday to set up a meeting between the leaders next month.
Biden has invited Xi to San Francisco in November for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at a time of tense relations between the two powers.
Xi has not yet confirmed he will come.
Wang on Saturday told the audience at a Washington event hosted by the Aspen Strategy Group that "both sides hope to stabilise and improve bilateral relations as soon as possible and agreed to work together toward a San Francisco summit between the two heads of state," state news agency Xinhua reported.
"The path to San Francisco is not smooth and cannot be left to 'autopilot'," Wang warned, according to Xinhua.
Biden and Xi have had no contact since a meeting in Bali in November 2022.
Relations have been tense for years between the world's top two economies as they vie for influence in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, and as Beijing boosts cooperation with Russia in a bid to reduce US dominance.
Wang on Saturday said the two sides must "eliminate interference, overcome obstacles, enhance consensus and accumulate results," according to Xinhua.