Xi, Biden to meet next week to ‘stabilize’ ties, says US

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WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on November 15 in the San Francisco area to try to “stabilize” relations after recent tensions between the two superpowers, US officials said.

The meeting, which had not previously been confirmed, is not expected to produce major outcomes but is aimed at avoiding conflict between China and the United States, said senior administration officials.

Biden and Xi will also discuss pressing global crises such as the Israel-Hamas war and Russia´s invasion of Ukraine, as well as tensions over the flashpoint island of Taiwan.

The two leaders have not met for a year since their last encounter in Bali in November 2022, and relations between Beijing and Washington have plunged into the deep freeze since then.

“President Biden will indeed meet with President Xi Jinping of the People´s Republic of China in the San Francisco Bay area of California on November 15,” a senior US official told reporters Thursday in embargoed comments.

Biden, 80, and Xi, 70, are both attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco next week, but officials would not say whether their meeting would happen in the city itself.

“Our goal will be to try to take steps that indeed stabilize the relationship between United States and China, remove some areas of misunderstanding and open up new lines of communication,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We are in competition with China, but we do not seek conflict confrontation or a new Cold War. We´re for managing the competition responsibly.”

There was no immediate confirmation from Beijing.

Washington and an increasingly assertive China have been at odds in recent years with both countries vying for global influence, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Biden and Xi made encouraging noises after the Bali talks but tensions have repeatedly flared since, with the United States protesting earlier this year what it described as a Chinese surveillance balloon over US soil.

China in turn has been outraged by growing US pressure including restrictions on high-tech chips, which Washington fears Beijing will put to military use.

Tensions are particularly high over Taiwan, the self-ruling democracy that Beijing claims and has not ruled out taking by force.

Biden was expected to warn Xi against any attempt to meddle in Taiwan´s elections next year, and to urge against further military exercises of the kind China staged near Taiwan last year after a visit by members of the US Congress.

“Interference in the Taiwan election is something we´re extremely concerned about. And of course, we´ll plan on delivering that message again,” a second US official said.

US officials said the Biden-Xi talks would be “very broad” and that they were “not talking about a long list of outcomes or deliverables” at the end.

“Nothing will be held back, everything will be on the table,” the first US official said.

But Biden and Xi were expected to discuss the “absolutely crucial” issue of restoring a US-China military hotline to prevent any escalations between the two countries. “We expect they´ll cover a range of regional and global issues too, such as Russia´s invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict,” the second US official said.

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