That mission has become all the more necessary since the conclusion of the Community Party Congress in Beijing, in which Xi secured a norm-breaking third term as leader, giving him even more power.
It’s a goal that will be much more easily achieved in person, White House officials say, despite Biden and Xi’s five video or phone calls during the US president’s term.
Biden told reporters on Sunday that he has “always had clear discussions” with Xi, and that has prevented any of them from making “misjudgments” of their intentions.
“I know him well, he knows me,” Biden said. “We just need to figure out where the red lines are and what the most important things are for each of us over the next two years.”
The US president will want to message Xi about the White House’s concerns about China’s economic practices. Taiwan is sure to come, and Biden will want to stress to Xi that the US will be ready to defend the self-governing island if it comes under attack from China. Biden will also try to express his concerns about Beijing’s human rights practices, as he has done in their previous interactions.
Biden will also use the meeting to push for a more aggressive stance from Xi on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Chinese leader has largely abstained from public criticism of Vladimir Putin’s actions while refusing to actively help Moscow by supplying weapons.
“We believe that, of course, every country in the world should do more to convince Russia, especially those who have relations with Russia, to end this war and leave Ukraine,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
Finally, US officials say they’d like to see where the two superpowers can actually work together.
While there are plenty of areas where Biden and Xi will disagree, the White House has listed several issues where they could potentially be, including health, counter-narcotics and climate change.
Xi has yet to give a wish list for talks with Biden, but Beijing wants US action on trade and Taiwan.
Perhaps most importantly, the Group of 20 meeting in Bali and the meeting with Biden will give China’s most powerful leader in decades a stage to promote his country’s image as a global player and himself as a history-making figure who can fulfill his rightful role. as an economic and political force.
China is pursuing an “increasingly assertive foreign and security policy aimed at changing the international status quo,” wrote Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister who is president of the Asia Society. Foreign Affairs.
That has strained relations with Washington, Europe and China’s Asian neighbors, but Xi is unfazed and seems more ambitious abroad.
The meeting is “an important event of China’s head of state’s diplomacy toward Asia Pacific,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian. He said Xi “will deliver an important speech” on economic growth.
Zhao called on the Biden administration to “stop politicizing” trade and embrace Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan, the self-governed island democracy that split from the mainland in 1949 and was never part of the People’s Republic of China.
Beijing wants Washington to lift tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2019 and lift increasing restrictions on Chinese access to processor chips and other US technology.
Biden has left most of those in place and added restrictions on access to technology that US officials say could be used in weapons development.
“The United States must stop politicizing, arming and ideologizing trade issues,” Zhao said.
Xi’s government has stepped up efforts to intimidate the elected government of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen by flying warplanes near the island and firing missiles into the sea.
Beijing broke off talks with Washington on security, climate cooperation and other issues after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August to show support for the government.
“The United States must stop obfuscating, eroding and twisting the ‘one China principle,'” Zhao said, referring to Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is obligated to join the mainland under the leadership of the Communist Party .
Another goal for Xi: Don’t get COVID-19.
The G20 will only be Xi’s second foreign trip in 2 1/2 years, as his government enforces a rigorous “Zero COVID” strategy that closes cities and keeps most visitors away from China.
Xi broke that moratorium by attending a summit with Putin and Central Asian leaders in September. But he skipped a dinner and photo shoot where Putin and others weren’t wearing masks.