US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Monday. It will be their first face-to-face meeting since the US leader became president, the White House said. The Chinese number 1 will then travel to Thailand to participate in the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum from November 17 to 19.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday that Xi Jinping would also meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron next week in Bali. He will also meet with Senegalese Macky Sall and Argentinian Alberto Fernandez.
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The talks come after Xi Jinping was reappointed last month for a historic third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party, securing him re-election as president in March 2023.
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping have already had five telephone or videoconference interviews, but this is their first meeting in the flesh since January 2021. The two men, however, had already had the opportunity to gauge each other during meetings when Joe Biden was Barack Obama’s Vice President.
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The two leaders see each other with the objective of “responsibly managing” the rivalry between China and the United States, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. Washington also hopes that the two rivals will be able to “work together where (their) interests coincide”, according to her. Americans are thinking here of the climate, the fight against drug trafficking and health.
Red lines in Taiwan
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping will also discuss a series of “international and regional” topics, she said, without explicitly mentioning the fate of Taiwan, the strongest source of tension.
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“I want to determine with him the type of mutual red lines” not to be crossed, Joe Biden said on Wednesday. “The doctrine on Taiwan has not changed at all,” he assured, avoiding to rephrase previous comments that had irritated Beijing, according to which the American army would defend Taiwan if the island was attacked.
Another subject of tension: Russia, while Joe Biden would like China to distance itself from Moscow.
Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said at a press conference on Thursday that China sent a “positive” signal by recently speaking out against the use and threat of use of weapons. nuclear. And this after Russia waved this threat over Ukraine. “Nor have we seen a widespread effort (from Beijing) to circumvent or undermine the sanctions regime” imposed on Russia by the West, he said.
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Also on the agenda: North Korea. At a time when Pyongyang is increasing its missile launches, Washington would like Beijing to use its influence on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Another source of friction: the recent tightening by the United States of its export controls, supposed to complicate the development by China of advanced semiconductors, and much criticized by Beijing.
No “concrete” results
“I don’t think we should expect concrete and specific results from this meeting,” however warned Jake Sullivan, insisting instead on the importance of a face-to-face exchange, when each of the two leaders has just scored a important political step.
Xi Jinping won a third term last month at the Chinese Communist Party Congress, cementing his status as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Tse-tung.
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Joe Biden comes out of the midterm elections somewhat refreshed, having avoided a wave of Republican opposition. The 79-year-old Democrat, who leaves Friday for the COP27 summit in Egypt, then in Cambodia for an Asean summit and finally in Bali, feels “in a position of strength”, assured Jake Sullivan in reference to this vote, which however did not settle completely.
The White House insists on the importance of a face-to-face meeting, for an American president with notoriously easy contact and who relies a lot, including on the diplomatic level, on personal relations.
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