Biden and Xi will meet in San Francisco for talks on trade, Taiwan and other tough issues

(Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Biden and Xi will meet in San Francisco for talks on trade, Taiwan and other tough issues


November 10, 2023

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Northern California on Wednesday for talks on trade, Taiwan and managing fraught U.S.-China relations in the first confrontation between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies in nearly a year , Biden administration officials said.

The White House has said for weeks that it expected Biden and Xi to meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco, but negotiations continued into the eve of the meeting, which starts Saturday .

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the leaders would discuss the continued importance of maintaining open lines of communication and how they can continue to responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests align particularly in the area of ​​transnational challenges affecting the economy. international community.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Xi would attend APEC next Tuesday to Friday at Biden’s invitation and participate in the US-China summit.

Two senior Biden administration officials, who previously briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity under White House ground rules, said the leaders would meet in the San Francisco Bay area but declined to provide further details due to safety concerns. Thousands of protesters are expected to descend on San Francisco during the summit.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier He Liveng met in San Francisco on Thursday, the latest in a series of high-level talks between the countries in recent months aimed at easing tensions. Yellen and He will continue talks on Friday.

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The meeting between Biden and Xi is not expected to lead to many, if any, major announcements, and it will certainly not resolve differences between the two powers. Instead, one official said, Biden wants to manage competition, avoid the downside risk of conflict and ensure communication channels are open. The officials said they believed it would be Xi’s first visit to San Francisco since he was a young leader of the Communist Party.

The agenda contains no shortage of difficult issues.

Disagreements in the already complicated U.S.-China relationship have only deepened over the past year, with Beijing fretting over new U.S. export controls on high technology; Biden orders shooting down of Chinese spy balloon after it crosses continental US; and Chinese anger over, among other things, a stopover in the US by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen earlier this year. China claims the island as its territory.

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Biden is also likely to pressure Xi to use China’s leverage over North Korea as concerns grow over North Korea’s increasing number of ballistic missile tests and Pyongyang’s supply of ammunition to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

Biden is also expected to let Xi know that he would like China to use its growing power over Iran to make clear that Tehran or its allies should not take any action that could lead to an expansion of the war between Israel and Hamas. His government believes that the Chinese, a major buyer of Iranian oil, have significant influence over Iran, which is a major supporter of Hamas.

Biden and Xi last met almost a year ago on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. During the nearly three-hour meeting, Biden directly objected to China’s coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan and discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other issues. Xi stressed that “the Taiwan issue is the core of China’s core interests, the basis of the political foundation of China-US relations, and is the first red line that should not be crossed in China-US relations USA

Next week’s meeting comes as the White House braces for a potentially bumpy year for China-US relations, with Taiwan set to hold presidential elections in January and the US holding its own presidential election next November.

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Beijing sees official U.S. contact with Taiwan as an encouragement to make the island’s decades-old de facto independence permanent, a move that U.S. leaders say they do not support. Under the long-standing One China policy, the US recognizes Beijing as the government of China and does not maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but continues to maintain that Taipei is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific. Biden plans to reaffirm that the US does not want a change in the status quo, an official said.

Disinformation experts testing for the Senate Intelligence Committee have warned that Beijing could target the U.S. and sow discord that could affect election results at the local level, especially in districts with large numbers of Chinese American voters.

The Biden administration has tried to make it clear to the Chinese that any action or interference in the 2024 election on our part would raise extreme concerns, an official said.

The officials also noted that Biden is committed to restoring military-to-military communications, which Beijing largely withdrew following then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022.

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Meanwhile, the number of unsafe or provocative encounters involving ships and aircraft from the two countries has increased dramatically.

Last month, the US military released video of a Chinese fighter jet flying within 10 feet of an American B-52 bomber over the South China Sea and nearly causing an accident. Earlier that month, the Pentagon released images of some of the more than 180 interceptions of U.S. warplanes by Chinese aircraft that have taken place over the past two years, part of a trend that U.S. military officials are reporting.

The Pentagon has warned that the lack of military-to-military contacts increases the risk that an operational incident or miscalculation could turn into a crisis or conflict.

The officials also said Biden would underscore U.S. commitment to the Philippines, following a recent episode in which Chinese ships blockaded and collided with two Philippine ships off a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.

The Philippines and other neighbors of China oppose Beijing’s sweeping territorial claims to virtually the entire sea.

I want to be very clear, Biden said in October. “The United States’ defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad.

Both sides appeared to be carefully considering the security of the meeting and declined to reveal the location of the long-awaited talks.

Thousands of people protesting climate destruction, business practices, the war between Israel and Hamas and other issues are expected to descend on San Francisco during the summit.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said his department expects several protests a day but does not know which ones will take place where or when. He said the city respects people’s right to peacefully mobilize but will not tolerate destruction of property, violence or other crimes.


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