Biden set for expansive virtual meeting with Chinese president
Biden is expected to raise concerns with China’s behavior on an array of issues while also discussing areas of potential cooperation during his first face-to-face meeting with the Chinese leader since taking office.
The meeting, which will be conducted virtually, is expected to stretch several hours. Officials have lowered expectations for the meeting since it was officially scheduled on Friday, saying it is not expected to yield specific deliverables.
“This meeting is about our ongoing efforts to responsibly manage the competition, not about agreeing to a specific deliverable or outcome,” a senior administration official told reporters Sunday.
The official said that Biden asked for the meeting with Xi to “make clear our intentions and our priorities to avoid misunderstandings.”
“The president will also make clear that we want to build commonsense guardrails to avoid miscalculation or misunderstanding. That is how you sustain responsible competition,” the official said.
The meeting comes at a time of persistently high tensions between the U.S. and China on multiple fronts. Among the issues Biden is expected to raise with Xi are China’s unfair economic practices, human rights abuses, military activity near Taiwan and cybersecurity.
At the same time, the Biden administration is trying to advance cooperation with China on issues like climate change and global health. In a surprise move, the U.S. and China agreed to issue a joint statement pledging action on climate change at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, that concluded over the weekend, though officials say that more is still needed on the part of Beijing.
“China taking bold action on an existential crisis like climate change is in its interest and that is what responsible nations do,” the senior administration official said. “This is not a favor to us and while we may work together in these regards, that does not either alter the nature of the bilateral relationship and we very much reject a linkage between cooperation on transnational issues and bilateral relations.”
Tensions between the U.S. and China have flared, especially with regard to China’s behavior toward Taiwan in recent weeks. Dozens of Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s defense zone throughout October.
While Biden and Xi have not met one-on-one since Biden took office, they have held two extensive phone calls. Officials have been laying the groundwork for Monday’s meeting for several weeks.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a call with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on Friday and raised concerns about China’s behavior toward Taiwan.
“He urged Beijing to engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve cross-Strait issues peacefully and in a manner consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.