If the world has a worry alongside the coronavirus pandemic, it has to be the slide of the relationship between China and the United States into disengagement and dysfunction. That is reason to welcome two unexpected virtual meetings in quick succession between Vice-Premier Liu He, China’s economic tsar, and his US counterparts, ending a high-level communications silence. Hopefully they are just the beginning of regular dialogue. The pandemic cannot go on forever. The post-Covid-19 age is likely to prove long and difficult – similar to the prolonged period after the global financial crisis with its roller-coaster ride of debt, asset bubbles, recession and low growth. The bill for the economically draining fight against Covid will fall due. To achieve a stable trajectory towards global recovery and economic growth, the world needs its two dominant economies, one the fastest growing and the other the most powerful, to establish a basis for working together financially and economically. Moreover it is in their own interests, however intractable their other differences. A trade war started by the US set the tone for worsening bilateral relations. Liu’s first virtual meeting, with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai , reflects that and the need to resume regular trade talks. But the second meeting a few days later with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is arguably more consequential. The brief official accounts from both sides referred to “frank” and “candid” exchanges on economic issues – meaning disagreement – and, importantly, agreement to keep communicating. State news agency Xinhua said the two agreed China-US economic relations were “very important”, and discussions included the macroeconomic situation. The US Treasury said Yellen had discussed plans to “support a strong economic recovery and the importance of cooperation”. Despite all the talk of decoupling between the US and China, at least in the financial world their fates are intertwined. China is the biggest US asset holder while the American dollar is still the de facto global currency. The US still dominates the financial system while China is the biggest and fastest growing market for fresh capital. If they can’t work together, the consequences for global markets will be serious. They also need to work on issues such as cryptocurrency, tax evasion and how to tackle the threat of inflation. China and the US may not see a lot of things eye to eye but they need each other on many issues. It’s not just about them. The world also need a more stable bilateral relationship, particularly in finance and economics. If China and the US cannot at least candidly exchange views and work on some pressing common issues, that will do nothing for the pace of what is likely to be a difficult and drawn out global recovery. That cannot be good for anyone.