China’s President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump held a phone call early on Friday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.

The contact between the leaders came as the number of COVID-19 cases in the US surged past China’s tally, making it the worst-affected country in the world.

In a tweet, Trump termed the phone conversation "very good", while conveying his respect for China’s battle against COVID-19 and claiming that the two sides “are working closely together.”

“Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!” said the US president.

According to state-run Xinhua News Agency, Xi said China was sharing information on COVID-19 “in an open, transparent, and responsible manner”.

He said Beijing was also sharing its experience on prevention, containment, and treatment, and was providing support and assistance to all countries in need.

Xi said China was committed to working with the international community to overcome the pandemic.

China's Foreign Ministry was yet to release a statement on the conversation.

This was the first direct contact between the leaders of the world’s top two economies since an escalation of tensions over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

In what China has condemned as “stigmatizing” and “racist” attacks, Trump had lately been referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus”.

The war of words between American and Chinese officials picked up pace after a top Chinese diplomat suggested the US military may have been responsible for the global outbreak.

Xi and Trump also participated in a conference call of G20 leaders on Thursday.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 175 countries and territories, according to data compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than 532,700 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 24,000 and over 122,600 recoveries.