Biden, Xi Jinping Will Meet Next Week in California

Leaders to meet Wednesday on the sidelines of summit in San Francisco
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 10, 2023 7:54 AM CST
Biden Finally Has a Date With Xi Jinping
The American and Chinese flags wave at Genting Snow Park ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Feb. 2, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet Wednesday in California in the first engagement between the leaders of the world's two biggest economies in nearly a year, Biden administration officials said. The White House has said for weeks that it anticipated Biden and Xi would meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, but negotiations went down to the eve of the gathering, which kicks off Saturday, per the AP. The officials, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said Friday that the leaders would meet in the San Francisco Bay area but declined to offer further details because of security concerns. Thousands of people protesting climate destruction, the Israel-Hamas war, and other issues are expected to descend on San Francisco.

The meeting is not expected to lead to many, if any, major announcements, and differences between the two powers certainly won't be resolved. Instead, one official said, Biden is looking toward "managing the competition, preventing the downside risk of conflict and ensuring channels of communication are open." The agenda includes no shortage of difficult issues. Differences in the already complicated US-Chinese relationship have only sharpened in the last year, with Beijing bristling over new US export controls on advanced technology; Biden ordering the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon after it traversed the continental US; and Chinese anger over a stopover in the US by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen earlier this year, among other issues.

Biden will likely press Xi on using China's influence on North Korea, during heightened anxiety over an increased pace of ballistic missile tests by North Korea as well as Pyongyang providing munitions to Russia for its war in Ukraine. The Democratic president is also expected to let Xi know that he would like China to use its burgeoning sway over Iran to make clear that Tehran or its proxies should not take action that could lead to expansion of the Israel-Hamas war. His administration believes the Chinese, a big buyer of Iranian oil, have considerable leverage with Iran, which is a major backer of Hamas. Biden also intends to reaffirm the US wants no change in the status quo as it relates to Taiwan, one official said.

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Taiwan was a key topic when Biden and Xi last met nearly a year ago on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Biden objected directly to China's "coercive and increasingly aggressive actions" toward Taiwan, while Xi stressed that "the Taiwan question is at the very core of China's core interests ... and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations." Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to make the island's decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step US leaders say they don't support. Officials said Biden is determined to restore military-to-military communications that Beijing largely withdrew from after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August 2022. The Pentagon has warned that the lack of contact "raises the risk of ... crisis or conflict." (More President Biden stories.)

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