Biden will meet Chinese Xi on Monday for Taiwan talks with Russia

President Joe Biden will meet with President Xi Jinping on Monday on the sidelines of next week’s Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, a face-to-face meeting that comes amid increasingly tense US-China relations, the House announced Thursday. White.

It will be the first in-person meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies since Biden became president in January 2021 and comes weeks after Xi received a third five-year term as leader of the Chinese Communist Party during the party’s national congress.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that leaders will meet to “discuss efforts to maintain and deepen the lines of communication between” the two countries and to “responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests are aligned, in particular on the transnational challenges affecting the international community ”.

The White House has been working with Chinese officials in recent weeks to organize the meeting. Biden told reporters on Wednesday that she intended to discuss with Xi the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing on the self-governing island of Taiwan, trade policies, Beijing’s relations with Russia, and more.

“What I want to do with him when we speak is to expose what our red lines are and understand what he believes is in China’s critical national interests, what I know are the critical interests of the United States,” Biden said. “And determine whether or not they conflict with each other.”

The White House tried to downplay expectations for the meeting, telling reporters there was no joint statement or expected outcome from the meeting.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “I don’t think you should view this meeting as a meeting where specific results will be announced. Rather the two leaders will give directions to their teams to work on a number of areas,” both areas where we have differences in areas where we can work together. “

Biden and Xi traveled together to the United States and China in 2011 and 2012 when both leaders served as vice presidents of their respective countries and have held five phone or video calls since Biden became president in January 2021. But US relations- China has gotten a lot more complicated since those talks getting to know you in Washington and on the Tibetan Plateau ten years ago.

As president, Biden has repeatedly charged China with human rights violations against the Uighur people and other ethnic minorities, Beijing’s crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, coercive trade practices, military provocations against the Taiwan’s self-government and differences over Russia’s pursuit of its era against Ukraine.

Weeks before Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president met Xi in Beijing and the two issued a memorandum expressing the hope of a “limitless” relationship for their nations.

China has largely refrained from criticizing the Russian war, but has so far avoided supplying arms to Moscow.

“I don’t think there is much respect that China has for Russia or Putin,” Biden said Wednesday. “And in fact, they kept their distance a little.”

The leaders would also have to face US frustrations that Beijing did not use its influence to pressure North Korea to withdraw from conducting provocative missile tests and abandon its nuclear weapons program. Biden was supposed to discuss North Korea’s threats with the leaders of South Korea and Japan one day before sitting down with Xi.

Xi’s government has criticized the Biden administration’s stance towards Taiwan – which Beijing seeks to eventually unify with the Communist mainland – as undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese president has also suggested that Washington wants to stifle Beijing’s growing weight as it seeks to overtake the United States as the largest economy in the world.

Tensions over Taiwan have grown since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August.

Biden said he was “unwilling to make fundamental concessions” on the Taiwanese doctrine of the United States.

According to its “One China” policy, the United States recognizes the Beijing government by allowing informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. It takes a position of “strategic ambiguity” towards Taiwan’s defense, leaving open the question of whether it would respond militarily if the island were attacked.

Asked about the planned meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press conference on Thursday that China was seeking “win-win cooperation with the United States” while reiterating Beijing’s concerns about the state’s position. United over Taiwan.

“The United States must stop obscuring, voiding and distorting the One China principle, respecting basic rules in international relations, including respect for the sovereignty of other countries, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries” , he has declared.

Biden caused a stir in Asia in May when at a press conference in Tokyo, he said “yes” when asked if he was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded. The White House and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were quick to make it clear that there has been no change in US policy.

Beijing sees official US contact with Taiwan as an encouragement to make the island’s decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step US leaders say they do not support. Pelosi is the highest elected American official to visit rapporteur Newt Gingrich since in 1997.

Xi stayed close to home during the global COVID-19 pandemic, where he enforced a “zero-COVID” policy that led to mass blockages that shook global supply chains.

He made his first trip out of China since the start of the pandemic in September with a stop in Kazakhstan and then Uzbekistan to take part in the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Putin and other leaders of the security group. of Central Asia.

US officials were eager to see how Xi approaches the meeting after being recently cleared with a third term and solidifying his position as the undisputed leader of the state, saying they would wait to see if that made him more or less inclined to seek areas of cooperation with the United States

They pointed out that the party congress results reinforced the importance of direct engagement with Xi, rather than with lower-level officials who they felt unable or unwilling to speak for the Chinese leader.

Sullivan says it “remains to be seen” what impact Xi’s consolidation of another five years as a Communist Party will have on his approach to US-China relations.

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