Biden to meet Xi for first time as president – White House
US President Joe Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of next week’s G20 summit in Indonesia, the White House said on Thursday. While Biden and Xi will reportedly discuss “efforts to maintain lines of communication,” the relationship between Washington and Beijing has been strained as of late over Taiwan.
The pair are set to meet on Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, adding that they would “discuss a range of regional and global issues.”
“The leaders will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication…responsibly manage competition, and work together where our interests align,” Jean-Pierre stated.
Biden and Xi last spoke by phone in late July, and have not met face-to-face since Biden assumed office last January.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have taken a nosedive under Biden’s watch, with the US president threatening on four separate occasions to intervene militarily should China attempt to bring the island under its control by force. On each occasion, White House aides walked back Biden’s statements, assuring Beijing that the US still abides by the ‘One China’ policy – under which the US recognizes, but does not endorse, China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.
China also treated a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August as a tacit endorsement by Washington of Taiwanese separatism, as Pelosi is the top-ranking member of Biden’s political party. Beijing launched full-scale military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in response, and severed key lines of communication with the US.
Biden said on Wednesday that he will discuss Taiwan with Xi, and that the US’ stance on the island “has not changed at all from the beginning,” presumably referring to Washington’s adherence to the One China policy. Biden added that he is “looking for competition, not conflict” with China.
Biden and Xi will also discuss the conflict in Ukraine and North Korea’s increased missile testing, a US official told reporters on Thursday. Biden intends to raise with Xi China’s alleged repression of the Uyghur Muslims, which Beijing denies, the official added.