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Biden-Xi meeting Monday

US looks for productive talks

Published : 11 Nov 2022 09:51 PM | Updated : 12 Nov 2022 10:51 AM
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US President Joe Biden is sitting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in high-stakes talks on Monday in which the former hopes to limit deterioration of ties with China.

The two leaders will hold talks on the sidelines of a Group of 20 nations summit in Indonesia, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden became president in January 2021.

Analysts say the US president seeks normalisation of ties with China as Washington, already facing economic slowdown and new polarization in the Middle East, cannot afford any escalation of tensions with Beijing. 

China is the main strategic rival of the United States and the world's second-largest economy after the US. Biden has been seeking stable relations with Beijing despite tensions over Taiwan, the South China Sea, trade and a host of other issues.

According to a Reuters report: An official in Washington told newsmen, "The president believes it is critical to build a floor for the relationship and ensure that there are rules of the road that bound our competition." 

Biden, asked as he left the White House on Thursday evening if he believed the talks would be productive, responded: "I always think my conversations are productive."

Biden and Xi last met in person during the Obama administration, and US ties with China have since sunk to their lowest level in decades, most notably since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August trip to Taiwan.

The senior administration official said there would be no joint statement from a meeting at which there are no expectations for specific agreements.

Russia's war in Ukraine and the issue of North Korea would likely be discussed, he said.

Biden said on Wednesday that he was unwilling to make any fundamental concessions when he meets Xi, and that he wanted both leaders to lay out their "red lines" and resolve areas of conflict, including on Taiwan.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters later that the United States remained concerned about the possibility of North Korea resuming nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017.

The day before Biden meets Xi in Bali, the US leader will hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol on the sidelines of regional meetings in Cambodia to discuss how to stem North Korea's nuclear programme.

The United States believes China and Russia have leverage to persuade North Korea not to resume nuclear bomb testing.

"This is an area where China and the United States have had a history of working together... there is a track record of being able to work together. And so I think the president will approach the conversation in that spirit," the official briefing reporters said.

Washington also had taken note of Xi's "important" remarks about non-use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine after Xi agreed during a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week that both leaders opposed their use, the official added.

He said the two sides were discussing COVID-19 protocols for the meeting but did not elaborate.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said the meeting was an opportunity to dial down tension, and China had been signaling that it wanted to avoid a further deterioration in relations.

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