Xi, Biden likely to agree on reopening consulates: Media

Mr Xi Jinping and Mr Joe Biden could agree on a framework for reducing trade tensions that erupted during the Trump administration, Politico said. PHOTOS: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are likely to announce the reopening of consulates shuttered last year, Politico reported, which would be one of the biggest steps yet to repair ties fractured during the Trump administration.

The two leaders, who are planning a virtual summit in the near future, are also likely to announce an easing of visa restrictions, the news outlet reported on Thursday (Nov 4), citing sources it did not identify.

Mr Xi and Mr Biden could agree on a framework for reducing trade tensions that erupted during the Trump administration, the news website said, and Mr Biden is likely to seek more talks between climate envoys.

In July 2020, Washington told China to shutter its consulate in Houston, prompting Beijing to retaliate with an order for a US diplomatic facility in the south-western city of Chengdu to close.

The Trump administration said its move was necessary because China directed criminal and covert activity to steal trade secrets and carry out malign influence operations across the US, though it never provided evidence of that.

The two nations also traded visa restrictions on students and journalists during Mr Donald Trump's time in office.

A group of four Democratic lawmakers has also written a letter to Mr Biden urging him to make nuclear risk reduction measures with China a top priority in a meeting with Mr Xi.

Beijing sees such moves as trying to bring them to the table for nuclear talks aimed at freezing their programme.

The Pentagon warned on Wednesday that China is expanding its nuclear weapons capabilities more rapidly than previously believed, a development that comes after reports that China tested a hypersonic missile.

On Friday, the Global Times, a nationalistic Communist Party tabloid, cited what it said were military experts as saying the Defence Department report was "speculative" and served Washington's "own hegemonic goals".

No date for the planned Xi-Biden video summit has been announced.

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