U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will have a virtual meeting on Monday evening, the White House announced. The meeting, their first after Mr Biden took office, has been in the making for a while.
“Following their September 9 phone call, the two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the PRC, as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said via a statement.
“Throughout, President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns with the PRC,” Ms. Psaki said.
Mr Biden had requested a face to face meeting during their September call , as per reports at the time. Last month, the two sides had agreed to a virtual summit by the end of this year , when U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Chinese top diplomat and politburo member Yang Jiechi in Zurich.
Earlier this year, while outlining its national security priorities, the Biden administration had said China was the “only competitor” capable of “mounting a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system.”
It has also articulated a policy of cooperating with Beijing where necessary (such as in climate action) and competing when needed. The two countries have continued to have a strained relationship – with China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo Pacific, trade, actions during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, nuclear weapons, being key concerns for the U.S.
Mr Biden and Mr Xi could also possibly discuss easing visa policies for each other’s journalists and the re-opening of their consulates in Houston and Chengdu, Reuters reported.