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Biden says a meeting with Xi on sidelines of November APEC summit in San Francisco is a possibility

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have faced no shortage of strain over the last year. The two countries’ differences have also been exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s increased assertiveness in the Taiwan Strait

Joe Biden Xi Jinping China EEUU
President Joe Biden and China's President Xi Jinping walk to shake hands as they meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on November 14, 2022.SAUL LOEB (AFP)

President Joe Biden said Friday that he could potentially meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. “There has been no such meeting set up, but it is a possibility,” Biden told reporters when asked about the prospects of a face-to-face meeting with the Chinese leader.

Biden and Xi have not spoken since their meeting last November of the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. White House officials have previously made clear that they hoped the two leaders would soon hold talks, and administration officials have been working to get the Chinese to agree to a meeting.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have faced no shortage of strain over the last year. The Biden administration shot down a Chinese spy balloon that traversed the continental U.S. earlier this year. The Chinese government hacked the emails of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. The U.S. government has restricted the exporting of advanced computer chips to China.

The two countries’ differences have also been exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s increased assertiveness in the Taiwan Strait. Beijing has stayed on the sidelines since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. But the White House has publicized a U.S. intelligence assessment indicating that Beijing has weighed assisting Moscow with weaponry.

Despite the differences, there have been stepped-up efforts in recent months by the two sides to manage the relationship. Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, declined to comment on the status of a possible Biden-Xi meeting in San Francisco, but noted in a statement that the two countries “are in communication on bilateral engagement and exchange.” “China and the U.S. need to work in the same direction, clear obstacles and manage differences with concrete actions, and enhance dialogue and expand cooperation in good faith,” he added.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi held talks last month on the Mediterranean island nation of Malta. That meeting came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken,Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Raimondo, and climate envoy John Kerry have all traveled to Beijing in recent months to meet with top Chinese officials. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is set to lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to China next week.

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