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Biden will hold the first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi at the G-20

Biden will hold the first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi at the G-20

Biden will hold the first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi at the G-20

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — President Biden will hold his first one-on-one presidential meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday in Bali ahead of next week’s Group of 20 summit.

“Leaders will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the United States [People’s Republic of China], manage competition responsibly and work together where our interests are aligned, especially on transnational challenges that affect the international community,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday. “The two leaders will also discuss a range of regional and global issues.”

The meeting followed months of speculation about whether the two leaders would meet at a global summit of the world’s most powerful governments. It will come as US-China relations have reached one of their lowest points in decades. Biden’s national security strategy has identified China as “America’s most important geopolitical challenge,” noting that the president is particularly concerned about the country’s efforts to “layer authoritarian rule with a revisionist foreign policy.”

A senior administration official told reporters that White House aides expected the meeting to be a “substantive and in-depth conversation” between the two leaders, but did not expect substantial progress on major issues. The official also said Biden would be “candid” about “a number of issues,” including lingering human rights issues.

Instead, the official said, White House officials see the meeting as an attempt for Biden and Xi to understand each other’s priorities and establish a “floor” for the relationship to ensure that lines of communication remain open in times of tension.

The senior official added that the White House noted that Xi warned against the use of nuclear weapons — seen as a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and urged Germany to push for peace talks in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Xi is at a moment of great political strength after securing an unprecedented third five-year term, concentrating power to a degree not seen since the days of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. He also defiantly positioned his country against the West.

The Chinese Communist Party gives Xi an endless rule for changing power

However, Biden also enters the meeting stronger position than expected after Democrats beat expectations in Tuesday’s midterm elections, helping to quell Democratic calls for him to consider ending his presidency after one term.

Biden was asked Wednesday about his meeting with Xi and what he hopes to get out of it.

“I am not willing to make any fundamental concessions,” he said during a news conference, before citing some of his previous meetings with the Chinese leader.

“I told him: I’m looking for competition — not conflict,” he said.

Biden said he hopes he and Xi can outline what red lines each country has that are critical to their national interests, to determine if they are in conflict and how to resolve them.

“I’m sure we’re going to talk about … Taiwan, and I’m sure we’re going to talk about a number of other issues, including fair trade and relations as it relates to his relations with other countries in the region,” Biden said. “So there’s a lot we’re going to have to talk about.”

Asked if he would tell Xi he was committed to Taiwan’s defense, Biden said, “I have that conversation with him.”

US-China relations have faced additional tensions in recent months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan in August. Xi asked Biden days before Pelosi’s visit to find a way to keep the speaker, who ranks second in the presidency, from visiting, after Chinese officials issued countless warnings to their American counterparts about what China might do in retaliation for visit to a self-governing island that Beijing considers part of its territory.

The Chinese leader asked Biden to prevent Pelosi from visiting Taiwan

After Pelosi’s visit, China said it would cancel or suspend dialogue with the United States on issues including climate change, military relations and anti-drug efforts. US officials said at the time that China was punishing the world by stalling climate talks, including on vulnerable nations in the Indo-Pacific.

But Biden also put China on edge over the Taiwan issue with his own remarks. On several occasions, Biden has said the United States is prepared to defend Taiwan if it faces an unprecedented attack or invasion by China, but has said he does not support the island nation’s independence.

Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.



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