President Joe Biden’s highly anticipated virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping will take place on Monday, the White House announced Friday.
“Following their September 9 phone call, the two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the (People’s Republic of China), as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “Throughout, President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns with the PRC.”
The talks come amid heightened tensions over Taiwan, trade and human rights. At the same time, the US and China unveiled a surprise pact this week on climate, underscoring some areas of cooperation.
Biden had once hoped for an in-person summit with Xi, but the Chinese leader hasn’t left China in nearly two years.
The meeting will be Biden’s first with Xi since he became President in January, and it comes as Xi hinted at a slight warming of relations with the US, according to a statement published on the website of the Chinese embassy to the US on Tuesday. In the letter, Xi said China is willing to “enhance exchanges and cooperation across the board” with the US and bring relations between the two world powers back on the right track.
The last time Biden and Xi spoke was in September, in a phone call that lasted roughly 90 minutes.
The two nations agreed to hold a virtual summit last month during an extended, six-hour meeting between Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi. The two men met in Switzerland for talks touching on areas of cooperation and disagreement as tensions between their two countries have spiked over Taiwan.
The official said that the tenor of that meeting was far removed from the fiery public exchange Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had with Yang and State Councilor Wang Yi at a March meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. After that encounter, Chinese officials accused the US delegation of being “condescending” in tone, while a US official said the Chinese officials had seemed “intent on grandstanding.”
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