Taiwan, Russia’s war in Ukraine, North Korea are at the top of the agenda

The long-awaited face-to-face meeting comes at a time when relations between the superpowers are at their lowest point in decades. The two men will meet in the Indonesian island of Bali ahead of the annual summit of the Group of 20 (G20), which brings together the leaders of the world’s major developed and developing economies.

Mr. Biden enters the session on the back of a landslide national victory, with Democrats taking control of the Senate while Mr. Xi won an unprecedented third term last month.

“I know I will be stronger, but I don’t need it. I know Xi Jinping, I spent more time with him than any other world leader.” Biden told reporters in Cambodia after the Senate results on Sunday.

“I always had frank and direct discussions with him. There was no misunderstanding about the position of any of us.”

The US president, who is on a light trip with stops at an international climate summit in Egypt, an ASEAN meeting and an East Asia summit in Cambodia, hopes to lay the “groundwork for the relationship” with China ahead of the G20. there are rules that define the competition between the two nations.

Mr. Biden recently said he was unwilling to make fundamental concessions when he met with Xi and asked the two leaders to identify “red lines” and resolve areas of conflict.

The White House said the meeting was unlikely to yield concrete results and a joint statement was not expected, but it could help stabilize relations marked by rising tensions in recent years on a range of issues from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the South China Sea. , coercive trade practices and US restrictions on Chinese technology.

Biden and Xi, who have had five phone or video conversations since Biden became president in January 2021, last met in person during the Obama administration. Relations between the US and China have hit an all-time low, particularly since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s August visit to Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island that Beijing claims is its territory.

“This face-to-face meeting is an opportunity to look for ways to reduce tensions and manage competition,” said Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund.


By Mr. Biden’s estimate, the two leaders know each other well, having traveled more than 17,000 miles together and met for 78 hours. They visited the United States and China together in 2011 and 2012, when they were both vice presidents of their respective countries.

Frustrated by what it sees as the Biden administration’s militarization of its economic policies, Beijing has sought to expand its ties with Europe and Africa. The Xi administration has also criticized the Biden administration’s stance on Taiwan as undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Chinese president also hinted that Washington wants to suppress the growing influence of Beijing, which is trying to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy.

Monday’s meeting as part of the Group of 20 leaders’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia comes weeks after the Biden administration unveiled a new national security strategy that sees an increasingly authoritarian China as the most important challenge to the world order.

Oriana Skylar Mastro, a China expert at Stanford University, said, “The Biden administration will try to kill two birds with one stone – securing China’s support on issues such as containment of North Korea and climate change – to pave the way for cooperation between China and the United States.”

Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said Xi, fresh from the Communist Party congress and consolidating his power, will press Biden to promise to maintain stable relations with China and respect the status quo in Taiwan. The two could also reopen some working-level mechanisms for bilateral consultations on trade and other issues, he added.

US officials said last week that Mr Biden would also discuss Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and plans to be “unapologetic” in defending Ukraine.

According to US officials, China has largely avoided criticizing Russia’s war, but has so far refrained from supplying Moscow with weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not participate in the G20 summit.

Mr Biden will also warn Mr Xi that North Korea’s continued weapons development will lead to a stronger US military presence in the region, the White House said.

The United States is concerned that North Korea is considering resuming nuclear bomb tests for the first time since 2017, and believes that China and Russia have leverage to persuade it not to do so.

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