Washington: US President Joe Biden would meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on November 14 on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Indonesia during which they will discuss ways to work together where their interests align, especially on transnational challenges that affect the international community, the White House announced on Thursday.
The meeting comes amid the fractious relationship between the two nations.
The Leaders will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the PRC (People's Republic of China), 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.
The two Leaders will also discuss a range of regional and global issues, Pierre said.
This would be their first in-person meeting after Biden became the US President in January 2021. The two leaders have spoken over the phone as many as five times.
Xi's last face-to-face meeting with a US leader came in June 2019, when he reached a truce with former president Donald Trump that led to a trade deal six months later. The bilateral ties fell into a downward spiral as Covid-19 spread around the globe.
Biden and Xi discussed a possible face-to-face meeting during a two-hour call in late July.
Since then, tensions escalated over a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. The White House called China's military exercises that followed an "unprecedented pressure campaign" for the self-governed island that China claims as its own.
China slapped sanctions against Pelosi and launched live-fire military drills around the island. But Beijing also blamed Biden for not intervening. Xi cut off talks with the administration on a number of important issues, including counternarcotics and climate.
Biden has also raised Beijing's ire by suggesting repeatedly that the US will defend Taiwan if attacked by China.
The White House has repeatedly said the remarks do not represent a change in US policy, but China has not been satisfied.
The Biden administration also imposed sweeping curbs on the sale of advanced chips to China, a move designed to maintain the US's technological edge over Beijing.
Throughout his presidency, President Biden has made it a priority to keep lines of communication open with the PRC at all levels to responsibly manage the competition between our two countries, a senior administration official told reporters during a conference call.
The meeting will be a part of the ongoing effort to build and manage relationships with China. Biden believes there is no substitute for face-to-face diplomacy to carry these discussions forward, said the official.
Biden, the official pointed out, has known Xi for quite some time.
When he (Biden) was vice president, he traveled to China and then Vice President Xi also travelled to the United States. So, we expect these meetings to be an in-depth and substantive conversation between the leaders and have a better understanding of one another's priorities and intentions, the official said.
According to the official, they expect the meeting to cover a number of areas.
First, I expect the leaders will discuss their respective views on the relationship and President Biden will lay out ideas on how best to manage the competition responsibly, the official said.
Second, I expect the President will be honest about a number of our concerns, including PRC activity that threatens peace and stability across the Taiwan stream, as well as our long-standing concerns about human rights violations and more broadly, the concerns we and our allies and partners have about China's harmful economic practices, said the official.
Third, the President will discuss areas where the two countries can and should work together and propose some ways to advance those efforts. Fourth, I expect them to discuss a range of regional and global issues to include Russia's war in Ukraine and recent DPRK provocations.
The president, of course, has entered this meeting after nearly two years of rebuilding and revitalising our alliances and partnerships to historic level and making unprecedented investments in our economy and national competitiveness, said the official.
Biden has focused his foreign policy on countering the economic and national security threats posed by China. He told reporters at a press conference that he will not make any concessions with Beijing, but wants to find out what Xi's "red lines" are in the relationship.
Biden on Wednesday said he is looking for competition and not conflict with China.
Biden told reporters here on Wednesday, the two leaders are expected to talk to each other about their national interests and the red line.
I've met with him many times. And I've told him I'm looking for competition, not conflict. So, what I want to do with him when we talk is lay out what kind of each of our red lines are, understand what he believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States and to determine whether or not they conflict with one another, he said in response to a question.
And if they do, how do we resolve it and how to work it out. The Taiwan doctrine has not changed at all from the very beginning, the very beginning. So, I'm sure we'll discuss a number of other issues, including fair trade and relationships relating to his relationship with other countries in the region, the US President said.
In response to another question, Biden said he does not think there is a lot of respect that China has for Russia or for its President Vladimir Putin.
I don't think they look at that as a particular alliance. Matter of fact, they've been sort of keeping their distance a little bit. I do think that it remains to be seen whether Xi Jinping has decided that, or backed off of his initial judgment, that he wanted China to have the most powerful military in the world as well as the largest economy, he said.
But he's a long way from both. I think talk about nuclear weapons and location, a number of them, and access is important to discuss, Biden said.