Biden, Xi to hold virtual talks
US, CHINA: US President Joe Biden will hold a hotly anticipated virtual summit tomorrow with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
“The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition” between the two countries “as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Friday.
The virtual talks will take place “in the evening” Monday in Washington — meaning early Tuesday in Beijing, she announced.
Biden and Xi have talked by phone twice since the veteran Democrat moved into the White House. The pair also met extensively when Biden was Barack Obama’s Vice President, and Xi was Vice President to Hu Jintao.
Biden had hoped to meet Xi at a recent G20 summit in Rome, but the Chinese leader has not travelled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead agreed to virtual talks by the end of the year.
“I’ve noted repeatedly, over the past 10 months, that the relationship with China is among the most consequential and also most complex that we have,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday.
“It has different elements in it — some cooperative, some competitive and others adversarial and we will manage all three at the same time.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Blinken on Saturday had a preparatory phone call for the summit.
Wang told his counterpart that “the two sides should meet each other halfway” at the Xi-Biden meeting, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
Wang also told Blinken that Washington should stop sending “incorrect signals” on Taiwan’s status.
“Specific deliverables” were unlikely from the summit, White House spokeswoman Psaki said.
Washington instead sees the meeting as a way of “setting the terms, in our view, of an effective competition.”
Such “intense competition” in the bilateral relationship required “intense diplomacy,” Psaki said.