Joe Biden will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on November 14 on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the White House said Thursday, in their first face-to-face talks since the US leader became president.
“The leaders will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication,” as well as how to “responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests align, especially on transnational challenges,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
The two met prior to Biden becoming president and have spoken by phone a number of times over the past 22 months, but the Covid-19 pandemic and Xi’s aversion to foreign travel has prevented them from meeting in person.
Their meeting during the summit in Bali comes after Xi last month was awarded a landmark third term as Chinese Communist Party General Secretary.
Biden, meanwhile, could have a tougher road ahead for the next two years after Tuesday’s midterm elections likely left opposition Republicans in control of one, if not both, of the houses of the US Congress.
The two countries have a massive investment and trade relationship but are also challenging each other’s military and diplomatic influence, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
They also face a potential flash point over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, a close ally of the United States that Xi has made clear he believes should be under Beijing’s control.
On Wednesday, Biden said he has already made clear to Xi that he is “looking for competition, not conflict.”
Biden said they will discuss Taiwan, but added that the US stance on the island “has not changed at all from the very beginning.”
Also on the menu are stepped-up missile test launches by North Korea, which the United States and allies consider a growing threat to East Asia.
Washington wants Beijing to pressure North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to reel back its activities and engage in talks on denuclearization.
“This is an area where China and the United States have had a history of working together,” a senior US administration official told reporters.
Biden said Wednesday he would like to lay out “what each of our red lines are, (to) understand what (Xi) believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States, and to determine whether or not they conflict with one another.”
“And if they do, how to resolve it and how to work it out,” he added.
The Biden administration official said no joint statement from the two leaders was planned after their meeting.