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Biden WILL meet China’s Xi Jinping at the G20 amid tense relations

President Joe Biden and China’s leader Xi Jinping will meet during the G20 summit next week, in their first in-person meeting of Biden’s presidency.

The two leaders will sit down on Nov. 14 Bali, Indonesia, the White House said on Thursday.

‘The Leaders will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the PRC, responsibly manage competition, and work together where our interests align, especially on transnational challenges that affect the international community,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Thursday. ‘The two Leaders will also discuss a range of regional and global issues.’ 

The meeting comes as U.S.-China relations has reached one of its lowest points in decades and administration officials were careful to set low expectations for it. 

‘I don’t in any way think that the two leaders are going to sit down and be able to solve all their differences or problems,’ a senior administration official told reporters on a briefing call. ‘But I do think that we believe that some of these steps could be important along the way.’ 

President Joe Biden and China’s leader Xi Jinping will meet during the G20 summit in Bali next week, in their first in-person meeting of Biden’s presidency

The two men have met before, when each man was serving as vice president of his country. And earlier in-person meetings were delayed as Xi wasn’t traveling outside of China during the covid pandemic. 

The two men have had five conversations, however, since Biden took office.

Next week’s meeting will be held after the president attends a climate conference in Egypt and stops in Cambodia, where he will speak with leaders of Southeast Asian countries. 

The president is focused on countering China’s economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region and he’ll focus on building American relationships with other nations in that sphere. 

Biden’s priorities for his meeting with Xi include building their relationship, expressing concerns about Taiwan, discussing human rights, and pushing back against harmful economic practices coming out of Beijing, a senior administration official said on a briefing call with reporters. 

But no ‘deliverables’ are expected, the White House was quick to note. The sit down, instead, would focus on building relationships and clearer communication. 

The official said the White House exects the meeting to be a ‘substantive and in-depth conversation’ between the two leaders but did not anticipate substantive progress on major issues.

The sitdown was described as ‘building a floor’ in U.S.-China relations.

The two leaders will not issue a joint statement after the meeting, which is typically the protocol. 

The official also said Biden would be ‘honest’ about a ‘number of concerns,’ including long-standing human rights issues. The U.S. accused China of committing genocide against the Muslim minority population in the western Xinjiang province.

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The official noted Biden would make no ‘fundamental concessions’ over U.S. support for Taiwan.

They will also discuss North Korea and Russia’s war in the Ukraine. 

Both leaders enter the meeting with strong political tailwinds at their backs. Biden’s Democratic Party did much better than expected in Tuesday’s midterm election. And Xi was elevated to an unprecedented third term by the Chinese Communist Party. 

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in February 2012 in Los Angeles when each man served as vice president of his country

President Biden and President have held five phone conversations including the one above in November 2021

At his press conference on Wednesday, Biden was asked about his meeting with Xi and what he was hoping to get out of it.

‘I’m not willing to make any fundamental concessions,’ he said.’I’ve told him: I’m looking for competition — not conflict.’

Asked specifically if he would tell Xi that he is committed to defending Taiwan, Biden responded, ‘I’m going to have that conversation with him.’ 

Under its ‘One China’ policy, the United States recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing for informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. 

It takes a stance of ‘strategic ambiguity’ toward the defense of Taiwan – leaving open the question of whether it would respond militarily were the island attacked. 

Biden has vowed in the past to use American military force to defend the island from a Chinese invasion. 

The issue is among the most contentious between Biden and Xi. 

Tensions between Washington D.C. and Beijing grew when Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island earlier this year.

China made it clear they did want her there and threatened retaliation if she visited. 

China cut talks with the U.S. on a number of key issues – including the economy and climate change – in the wake of her stopover. 

Merry

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