Biden To Meet China’s Xi Jinping At G20 Amid Strained Relations

The White House has said that US President Joe Biden will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit next week. This will be the first time the two leaders have talked in person since Biden took office in early 2021.

Biden To Meet China’s Xi Jinping At G20

In a statement released on Thursday, the White House said that Biden and Xi would talk on November 14 in Bali, Indonesia, about “efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication” between the two countries at a time when tensions are rising. The two will also talk about how to “manage competition in a responsible way” and how to “work together where our interests align, especially on transnational challenges that affect the whole world,” according to a statement.

The US and Chinese governments are getting more and more upset about things like trade policy, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and how China treats Taiwan.

Biden Meet Xi Jinping At G20
Biden Meets Xi Jinping At G20

A high-level administration official said that Biden hopes to stop the relationship with China from getting worse, but that he will be honest with Xi about US concerns, such as Taiwan and human rights. In a call with reporters about the meeting, an official said, “The president thinks it’s important to build a floor for the relationship and make sure there are rules of the road that keep our competition in check.”

As he left the White House on Thursday night, Biden was asked if he thought the talks with Xi would be useful. He said, “I always think my conversations are useful.”

The last time Biden and Xi met in person was during the Obama administration. Since then, relations between Beijing and Washington have gotten worse and worse, especially since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan in August.

China thinks of the self-governed, democratic island as part of its territory, and it is angry when politicians from the US and Europe go to Taipei. Biden has been trying to improve relations with Beijing despite tensions over Taiwan, territorial disputes in the South China Sea where Beijing claims historic rights to ownership, and a number of other issues, such as trade and human rights.

The top official in the US government said that Biden and Xi would not make a joint statement after their meeting and that no agreements are expected.

The official said, “I expect the president to be honest about a number of our concerns, such as PRC activity that threatens peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and our long-standing concerns about human rights violations.”

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Biden said on Wednesday that when he meets with Xi, he won’t make any major concessions. He also said that he wanted both leaders to state their “red lines” and work out areas of disagreement, such as Taiwan.

At a press conference on Thursday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that China had taken the US proposal for a meeting between the two leaders “seriously” and that teams from both countries were talking about the issue.

“China’s stance on the US is clear and consistent. We want to respect each other, live together peacefully, and work together with the US in a way that benefits both sides. “At the same time, we will strongly defend our sovereignty, security, and development interests,” Zhao said. Zhao had a very strong message for the US about Taiwan.

“What the US needs to do is stop lying, twisting, and watering down the one-China principle. It also needs to strictly follow the basic rules of international relations, such as respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries and not getting involved in their internal affairs,” he said.

“It is important for the US and China to work together to handle differences well, advance cooperation that helps both sides, avoid misunderstandings and bad guesses, and get China-US relations back on the right track,” he said.

Virtual meetings

Biden and Xi have met online a few times, but the talk in Bali will be the first time they’ve met in person since Biden became president in January of last year. It also happens just a few weeks after Xi won a historic third term as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, making him one of the most powerful leaders in the country.

In a letter written soon after he won his third term, Xi said that the US and China need to “find ways to get along in the new era.” Biden has also said that while the US sees China as a competitor, “we’re making it clear that we don’t seek conflict.”

Biden Meet Xi Jinping At G20
Biden Meets Xi Jinping At G20

This commitment has been put to the test by a number of things, such as actions taken by the US to hurt China’s ability to make semiconductor chips.

In recent years, the US has also been critical of China’s record on human rights, especially when it comes to the Uighur Muslim minority in the province of Xinjiang in the west. At least one million Uighurs and other minorities are being held in a network of detention centers, according to the United Nations. In September, the UN human rights office said this could be “crimes against humanity.”

China has said that steps are needed to stop “extremism,” and it has called criticism from other countries “disinformation.” Biden told reporters on Wednesday that he was going to talk to Xi  Jinping about the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.

“When we talk, I want to lay out each of our red lines and find out what he thinks are the most important national interests of China and what I know to be the most important national interests of the U.S.,” Biden said.

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