Wednesday, January 19

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to hold virtual meeting this year – White House | porcelain

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping plan to meet via video link before the end of the year, a senior US official said Wednesday.

There is an “agreement in principle” for the “virtual bilateral”, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The virtual meeting was announced after U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in the Swiss city of Zurich in six-hour talks aimed at improving communication between the two countries.

The closed-door meeting at an airport hotel was the couple’s first face-to-face meeting since an unusually public broadcast of complaints in Alaska in March.

US officials had suggested the meeting was a continuation of Biden’s Sept. 9 call with Xi, before which the world’s two major economies appeared to have stalled at a standstill.

Sullivan’s trip continues to increase contact between Beijing and Washington, as Biden advocates establishing “security barriers” to the growing competition between the two powers.

Tension is mounting over China’s aggressive stance toward Taiwan, the US decision to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, trade disputes and human rights violations against Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The White House said Sullivan raised concerns during the meeting about China’s actions in the South China Sea, as well as about human rights and Beijing’s positions on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan.

Both Beijing and Washington said the talks were constructive and frank. The American side said the tone was very different from that of Alaska.

Early speculation had been that Biden and Xi could meet in person at the G20 summit in Italy in October, but Xi has not left China since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic early last year and is not expected to attend. the summit in Rome or the UN. climate conference in Glasgow.

“Today’s conversation, broadly speaking, was a more significant and substantive engagement than the one we have had to date below the level of leader,” the US official said, adding that Washington hoped it would be a “model for meetings. futures”.

However, the official said it should not be seen as a thaw in relations.

“What we are trying to achieve is a stable state between the United States and China in which we can compete intensely but handle that competition responsibly,” the official said.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Yang told Sullivan that the confrontation would harm both countries and the world.

“The two sides agreed to take measures … to strengthen strategic communication, properly handle differences, avoid conflicts and confrontations,” the ministry statement said.

Biden’s call with Xi in September ended a nearly seven-month gap in direct communication between the leaders, and the two discussed the need to ensure their competition does not conflict.

The tension in the relationship between the United States and China has been exacerbated recently by the Chinese military that carried out dozens of sorties near the autonomous island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.

Biden said Tuesday that he spoke with Xi about Taiwan and that they agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on Wednesday his concern that Beijing is undermining regional peace and stability with its “provocative” action.

“We strongly urge Beijing to stop its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion directed at Taiwan,” said Blinken, who was in Paris to speak with French officials.

Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

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