WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in person for the first time next Monday in Bali, ahead of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit.
They will discuss managing their countries’ competition and issues, including Taiwan and trade, the White House said on Thursday.
A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting would be an in-depth and substantive conversation for the leaders to better understand each other’s priorities and intentions.
“The (US) 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,” she said.
“It’s also ensuring that we’re working together on areas where our interests align, especially transnational challenges that affect the international community. This meeting will be a part of this ongoing effort, and the President believes there’s no substitute for face to face to carry these discussions forward,” she added, stressing the importance of keeping lines of communication open.
Mr Biden and Mr Xi have not met in person since the US President took office in January 2020, although they have spoken over phone or video five times, most recently in July.
Mr Xi did not travel outside of China for much of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The US official said that Mr Biden would be honest about America’s concerns, including China’s activity threatening the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, as well as longstanding concerns about Beijing’s human rights violations and harmful economic practices.
China regards the island of Taiwan – one of the thorniest issues in US-China relations – as a renegade province to be reunited with by force if necessary, and has accused the US of upsetting the status quo.
Washington has criticised Beijing for holding provocative military activities such as drills and fly-bys near the island.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Biden said he wanted to “lay out what each of our red lines are”. He also said he wanted both of them to understand each other’s positions on critical national interests, and to determine how conflicts between their interests should be resolved.
Asked if the US would commit to militarily defending Taiwan, Mr Biden replied that he was “not willing to make any fundamental concessions” and that America’s policy on the island had not changed.
The US official said that Mr Biden would also propose ways to advance cooperation, and discuss issues that included Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and North Korea’s recent missile launches.
Mr Biden leaves for a week-long overseas trip to Egypt and Asia on Thursday. He will attend the COP27 climate change summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on Friday, the US-Asean and East Asia summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, over the weekend, and the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, next week.