Biden and Xi to meet on sidelines of Apec forum in California

Long-expected meeting aimed at stabilising ties between China and the US and clearing up misperceptions in the bilateral relationship

US President Joe Biden meets Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November last year. The coming meeting will be the first since then. Reuters
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US President Joe Biden will sit down with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on November 15 in the first conversation between the two leaders in a year.

The long-expected meeting is intended to stabilise ties between the countries, affording Mr Biden and Mr Xi the opportunity to discuss in person the issues affecting the relationship between the US and China as well as broader global concerns.

American officials have played down expectations for any clear breakthroughs and stressed that the focus is on clearing up misperceptions in the bilateral relationship.

Mr Biden is expected to raise the need for open lines of communication, including in the military realm, and discuss issues involving artificial intelligence, fentanyl and detained Americans in China, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on Thursday on condition of anonymity.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement on Friday that the two leaders would discuss how the US and China can “responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests align, particularly on transnational challenges that affect the international community”.

“The two presidents will have in-depth communication on issues of strategic, overarching and fundamental importance in shaping China-US relations and major issues concerning world peace and development,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The countries are expected to announce a resumption of military-to-military communications after Beijing cut off that channel following a visit by Nancy Pelosi – then speaker of the House of Representatives – to Taiwan in August 2022, according to people familiar with the plans.

The US also hopes to reach an agreement to get China’s help in cracking down on the chemical ingredients used to make fentanyl, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the US objectives.

The get-together of the leaders of the world’s two largest economies comes on the sidelines of next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in San Francisco. The US is hosting the gathering for the first time since 2011.

The senior administration officials did not share where the Biden-Xi meeting would take place, saying only that it would be in the San Francisco Bay area. China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday that Mr Xi will travel to San Francisco November 14-17 to meet Mr Biden and attend Apec meetings.

Mr Biden and Mr Xi have not spoken since their last encounter at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14 last year. That meeting lasted about three and a half hours and appeared to clear the way for a less confrontational relationship.

Updated: November 13, 2023, 10:44 AM