Biden will meet with Xi on Monday in the first high-stakes meeting with a Chinese leader

Biden will meet with Xi on Monday in the first high-stakes meeting with a Chinese leader

Biden will meet with Xi on Monday in the first high-stakes meeting with a Chinese leader

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

President Joe Biden will meet face-to-face with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office and will offer an opportunity to clarify for the most important bilateral relationship in the world.

“Leaders will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, manage competition responsibly, and work together where our interests are aligned, particularly on transnational challenges affecting the international community.” The two leaders will also discuss a range of regional and global issues,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

US officials enter the session on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali with little expectation of big results or even hope that tensions will be significantly eased.

But they hope Biden can “build the floor” of a functional relationship that doesn’t turn into conflict and even allows for productive cooperation on areas like climate and North Korea.

“I don’t think in any way that the two leaders are going to sit down and be able to resolve all of their differences or issues,” a senior administration official said. “But I think we believe some of these steps could be important along the way.”

Instead of any significant conclusions, US officials hope the two leaders will at least come to a mutual understanding of where they see the relationship between the world’s largest economies. The official said the talks would be “in-depth” and “substantive”.

“One of the main goals is actually to deepen their understanding of the priorities and intentions of others, where possible, with the aim of reducing misunderstandings and misperceptions,” the official said.

Up for discussion will be each leader’s exchange of views on US-China relations, which have soured in recent months after Beijing reacted furiously to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to self-ruled Taiwan.

China subsequently cut off most official channels of communication with the United States, although there were enough contacts to arrange a meeting between Biden and Xi. In those talks, US and Chinese officials discussed re-establishing communications.

Biden and Xi have spoken by phone five times since the president entered the White House. They traveled a lot together, both in China and in the United States, when they were both vice presidents of their respective countries.

Both enter Monday’s meeting against a backdrop of significant political events. Biden did better than expected in the US midterm elections and Xi was elevated to an unprecedented third term by the Chinese Communist Party.

US officials declined to speculate on how the political situations of the two leaders might affect the dynamics of their meeting. Instead, they set up the areas they expected to be on the table.

This includes the issue of Taiwan, which Beijing claims. Biden has promised in the past to use US military force to defend the island from a Chinese invasion. The issue is among the most contentious between Biden and Xi.

Biden will also raise concerns about human rights, the official said. The US accuses China of committing genocide against the Muslim minority population in the western province of Xinjiang.

Biden will also address what the US considers China’s harmful economic practices. It is unclear whether the issue of US tariffs on Chinese goods will come up in the negotiations.

The president also plans to discuss areas where the two countries can cooperate, including climate change.

And he will raise the question Russia’s war in Ukraine and North Korea’s constant provocations — two areas where the US wants China to assert its influence to prevent further conflict.

The official did not specify what Biden’s message on North Korea would be, saying they did not want China to know ahead of time what Biden was talking about.

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