Biden to hold first in-person meeting with Chinese President Xi at G-20

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – President Biden will hold his first presidential meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday in Bali ahead of the Group of 20 meeting next week.

“Leaders will consider efforts to continue improving the communication process between the United States and the people [People’s Republic of China]manage competition sensibly, and work together where our interests are aligned, especially on international challenges affecting the world,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Thursday. “Leaders Both will discuss many regional and global issues.”

The meeting comes after months of speculation over whether the two leaders will 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 described China as “America’s most pressing geopolitical challenge,” noting that the president is particularly concerned about the country’s efforts to “reverse foreign policy by authoritarianism.” mind.”

A senior administration official said on a call with reporters that White House aides expected the meeting to be a “deep and deep discussion” between the two leaders. but they did not expect much progress on the subject. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to monitor the meeting, also said Biden would be honest about “a lot of concerns,” including longstanding human rights issues.

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Instead, the official said, White House officials view the meeting as an effort for Biden and Xi to understand each other’s priorities and establish a “ground” for the relationship to ensure open communications. during the conflict.

The official added that the White House found it significant that Xi warned against the use of nuclear weapons – seen as a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin – and urged Germany to step up for peace talks and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Xi is at the height of his political power after winning an unprecedented third five-year term, wielding power on a scale not seen since the eras of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. He has also kept his country in opposition to the West.

The Communist Party of China gave Xi an endless mandate to change power

But Biden also enters the conference in a stronger-than-expected position after Democrats announced expectations in Tuesday’s midterm elections, helping him to fend off Democratic calls for him to consider ending the race. his head down after a while.

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

“I’m not ready to make any major agreements,” he said during a press conference, before mentioning some of his previous meetings with the Chinese leader.

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

Biden said he hoped he and Xi could define the red lines each country has that are critical to their national interests, to determine whether they are in conflict and how to resolve them.

“I’m sure we’ll discuss … Taiwan, I’m sure we’ll discuss many other issues, including fair trade and relations with other countries in the region,” Biden said. . “So there’s a lot we have to consider.”

Asked specifically if he would tell Xi that he is committed to defending Taiwan, Biden replied, “I will have that conversation with him.”

US-China relations have faced further tensions in recent months when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan in August. Xi asked Biden days before Pelosi’s visit to find a way to get the speaker, who is the president’s second-in-line, to visit, after Chinese officials issued several warnings to the US delegation. warning about what China might do in retaliation for his visit. -An island ruled by Beijing that takes part of its territory.

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The Chinese leader asked Biden to prevent Pelosi from going to Taiwan

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

But Biden has included China in the Taiwan issue in his own words. Several times, Biden has said that the United States is ready to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion or an unprecedented Chinese attack, but he has said that he does not support the independence of the island.

Viser reported from Washington. Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

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