The meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is being held on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on Monday.
Both the leaders shook hands, greeted each other and sat down at their tables, flanked by officials on each side. They smiled for cameras and Xi — through a translator — appeared to say, “Good to see you.”
China’s Xi and Biden have known each for more than a decade, but Monday saw them meet face-to-face for the first time in their current roles.
There have been five phone and video exchanges with Xi since Biden took office at the start of 2021, but Monday’s talks will be their first in-person since 2017, when Biden was vice president to Barack Obama. The last time Xi met a US leader was Donald Trump in 2019.
Biden wants his meeting with Xi in Indonesia to repair lines of communication and help establish “guardrails” to keep the superpowers from conflict, US officials said.
“We are in competition. President Biden embraces that but he wants to make sure that that competition is bounded, that we build guardrails, that we have clear rules of the road and that we do all of that to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict,” a senior White House official said.
The official, one of two briefing reporters ahead of the meeting in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 summit, said Biden has the backing of “allies and partners” for his approach.
“There is broad support for our determination to build the floor under the relationship to increase communications responsibly,” the official said.
The overview of US goals for the talks with Xi reflects both the magnitude of the challenge in stabilising the US-China relationship and the low expectations.
The relationship between the world’s biggest economies has deteriorated since Biden took office over economic competition, human rights issues and rising tensions between China and Taiwan.
Washington and Beijing are at loggerheads over issues ranging from trade to human rights in China’s Xinjiang region and the status of the self-ruled island of Taiwan.
US President Joe Biden on Sunday said that he is “coming in stronger” to his first in-person meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday after US voters returned control of the Senate to his party with the re-election of Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto.
Biden says he goes into Xi meeting politically “stronger” after the midterm election. “I know I’m coming in stronger,” US President Joe Biden said in Phnom Penh, where he is meeting with other Asian leaders in Cambodia.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Monday expressed hope that the relations between both countries will return to the “right track of healthy and stable development”, CNN reported.
Calling its policy and position toward the United States “consistent and clear”, Mao Ning hoped that “US and China would move in the same direction, properly manage differences, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations, and promote the return of China-US relations to the right track of healthy and stable development,” CNN reported.
“We are committed to achieving mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation with the United States, while firmly defending our own sovereignty, security, and development interests,” a foreign ministry spokesperson added.
She further said that China had always viewed and developed Sino-US relations in accordance with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping, and advocated promoting and building the right way for China and the United States to get along in the new era, according to CNN.
Earlier, Biden on Sunday said even though the US would keep speaking out on China’s dubious human rights record, its line of communication with the country would stay open to prevent conflict, reported Al Jazeera.
“I know him well, he knows me, We’ve just got to figure out where the red lines are and what are the most important things to each of us, going into the next two years,” Al Jazeera quoted Biden as saying while addressing the East Asia Summit in Cambodia.