Biden and Xi Jinping to meet in California

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are to meet next week in the San Francisco Bay area, two senior administration officials said.The encounter on 15 November will be only their second face-to-face meeting during the Biden presidency.It will be wide-ranging, US officials said, with the Israel-Hamas war, Taiwan, war in Ukraine and election interference to be discussed.Relations between the two countries deteriorated earlier this year.

The US accused China of sending a spy balloon across its air space. An American warplane shot it down off the coast of South Carolina.There was also a visit to Taiwan last year by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which led China to break off communication between the two nations’ militaries.Mr Biden is “determined” to restore those channels, US officials said, but China appeared “reluctant” to do so.

“This is not the relationship of five or 10 years ago, we’re not talking about a long list of outcomes or deliverables,” one of the officials said.“The goals here really are about managing the competition, preventing the downside of risk – of conflict, and ensuring channels of communication are open.”The Biden-Xi bilateral will take place during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, which the US is hosting in San Francisco from 11 to 17 November.

China’s ambassador to the US, Xie Feng, said on Thursday at a forum in Hong Kong that China is seeking several assurances.He said Beijing wants to know “that the US does not seek to change China’s system, does not seek a new Cold War, does not support Taiwan independence and has no intention to seek decoupling from China”.

“Sino-US relations are still facing severe challenges, and there is still a long way to go to stabilise and improve relations,” Mr Xie said at the Hong Kong Forum on US-China Relations.

US officials say their diplomats had raised the importance of re-establishing military dialogue in “nearly every conversation” with their Chinese counterparts over the past year, but with no success.One of the main sticking points for re-establishing military-to-military communication has been the Chinese spy balloon incident, which “comes up often” when discussing the communications freeze, one official said.

“I think the balloon episode underscored the difficulty we had at the time to be able to establish high-level, consequential communications with Beijing,” the official added.“And we’ve made that case persistently and consistently.”After the incident in February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly cancelled a trip to Beijing, saying China’s decision to fly an apparent spy balloon over the US was “unacceptable and irresponsible”.

But the trip eventually went ahead in June and Mr Blinken had what he described as “a robust conversation” with Mr Xi.Multiple US media outlets have reported that Mr Jinping will also attend a private dinner with US business executives in San Francisco after his meeting with Mr Biden.For $40,000 (£32,800), guests can sit at the Chinese president’s table, according to the New York Times. Tickets start at $2,000 per person.

A spokesman for the National Committee on US-China Relations, one of the organisers of the dinner, told the BBC there is a planned event with an “extremely senior” Chinese official, though he would not confirm if it was Mr Jinping.US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has also held talks with Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng this week, ahead of the Xi-Biden meeting, to discuss economic co-operation between the two countries.

Ahead of the visit, Chinese state media outlet Global Times wrote an editorial that put the responsibility on Mr Biden to “overcome and eliminate disruptions” between China and the US.“There is a dark force in Washington that is undermining US-China relations, and the more critical the moment, the more active they become,” the 8 November editorial said.

Leave a Comment