Biden to meet China’s Xi on Monday

This will be the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies since Biden became president in January 2021.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will meet President Xi Jinping on Monday on the sidelines of next week’s Group of 20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, a face-to-face meeting that comes amid growing tensions between the United States and China. straight, the White House announced on Thursday.

It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies since Biden became president in January 2021 and comes weeks after Xi was awarded a fifth term. breakthrough year as the leader of the Chinese Communist Party of the party’s national congress.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement the leaders will meet “to discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the two nations and to “Manage competition responsibly and work together where our interests align, especially on transnational challenges affecting the international community. “

The White House has been working with Chinese officials over the past few weeks to arrange the meeting. On Wednesday, Mr. Biden told reporters that he planned to discuss with Mr. Xi the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, trade policies, the relationship between the US and China. Beijing with Russia and more.

“What I want to do with him when we talk is draw a red line for each of us and understand what he believes is China’s important national interest, what I know is China’s important national interest. of the United States,” Biden said. “And determine if they conflict with each other.”

A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the summit, sought to lower expectations for the meeting, telling reporters on Thursday that there was no joint statement or announcement. what is expected from the meeting. Instead, the official said, Biden aims to build a “foundation for the relationship.”

Biden and Mr. Xi traveled together in the US and China in 2011 and 2012 when both leaders were serving as vice presidents of their respective countries and they held five phone calls or video since Biden became president in January 2021. But the US-China relationship has become much more complicated since that acquaintance talk in Washington and on the Tibetan plateau a decade ago.

As president, Biden has repeatedly put China on the line for human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities, Beijing’s crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, coercion restrictions on commercial activities, military provocations against self-ruled Taiwan, and differences over Russia’s prosecution of its war against Ukraine.

A few weeks before Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president met with Xi in Beijing and the two issued a memorandum expressing hope for a “no bounds” relationship for the two countries. their country.

China has largely refrained from criticizing Russia’s war but has so far stopped supplying Moscow with weapons.

“I don’t think there’s much respect China has for Russia or Putin,” Biden said on Wednesday. “And in fact, they tried to keep their distance a little bit.”

The leaders are also expected to address U.S. frustrations that Beijing has not used its influence to force North Korea to back off from conducting provocative missile tests and abandon its program. nuclear weapons. Biden was prepared to discuss threats from North Korea with the leaders of South Korea and Japan the day before sitting down with Mr. Xi.

Mr. Xi’s government has criticized the Biden administration’s position on Taiwan – where Beijing appears to eventually reunify with the communist mainland – as undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese president also suggested that Washington wants to contain Beijing’s growing influence as it tries to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy.

Tensions over Taiwan have been on the rise since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August.

Biden said he was “unwilling to make any fundamental concessions” on the US Taiwan doctrine.

Under the “One China” policy, the United States recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing the establishment of informal and defense ties with Taipei. It takes a “strategic ambiguity” stance towards defending Taiwan – leaving open the question of whether it will respond militarily when the island is attacked.

Biden caused a stir in Asia in May when, at a news conference in Tokyo, said “yes” when asked if he would be willing to join the military to defend Taiwan should China invade. The White House and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were quick to clarify that there was no change in US policy.

Beijing sees official US contact with Taiwan as an incentive to make the island permanent and de facto independent, a step US leaders say they do not support. Pelosi is the highest-ranking US elected official to visit since then – Spokesperson Newt Gingrich in 1997.

Mr. Xi has stayed close to home during the global COVID-19 pandemic, where he has enforced a “zero-COVID” policy that has resulted in mass lockdowns that have disrupted global supply chains.

He made his first trip outside of China since the start of the pandemic in September with a stop in Kazakhstan and then on to Uzbekistan to join the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Putin and other leaders of the Central Asian security group.

US officials are eager to see how Mr. Xi approaches the meeting after being newly empowered for a third term and cementing his position as the unquestioned leader of the state. said that they would wait to assess whether that would make him more or less likely to explore areas of cooperation with the US.

They emphasized that the party congress results reinforced the importance of direct engagement with Xi, rather than lower-level officials they deemed unable or unwilling to speak on behalf of the Chinese leader. . Biden to meet China’s Xi on Monday

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