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Biden to meet with China's Xi at G20 summit in Indonesia next week

White House says a Biden, Xi meeting is in the works
U.S. and Chinese officials working to set up meeting between Biden, Xi Jinping 06:07

Washington — President Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, Nov. 14, at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, the White House confirmed Thursday.

It will be their first in-person meeting between the two since Mr. Biden took office, although they have met virtually, and in person several times when Mr. Biden was vice president.

A Biden-Xi meeting has been under discussion by U.S. and Chinese officials in the weeks leading up to the summit, as the U.S. aims to navigate the complex and competitive relationship with China and counter Beijing's global influence. 

"The leaders will discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the [People's Republic of China], responsibly manage competition, and work together where our interests align, especially on transnational challenges that affect the international community," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. "The two leaders will also discuss a range of regional and global issues."

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with then-Vice President Joe Biden in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, 2017.  Xinhua News Agency

Mr. Biden hinted at a conversation with Xi during a press conference Wednesday, saying he has told Xi in the past that he's "looking for competition," not "conflict."

"And so what I want to do with him when we talk is lay out what each of our red lines are and understand what he 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," Mr. Biden said Wednesday. "And if they do, how to resolve it and how to work it out."

The president added that he was sure the two leaders will discuss Taiwan, as well as China's relationship with other countries in the region. The two leaders spoke by phone in July for more than two hours as tensions over Taiwan reached a fever pitch.

The White House doesn't expect any specific agreements to come out of next week's meeting. A senior administration official told reporters the meeting is an opportunity for the two leaders to gain a better understanding of where the other stands and "build a floor for the relationship." That means making sure there are "rules of the road" for the U.S.-China competition, the official said. 

"There's not going be a joint statement of any sort here," said the official, adding the sit-down isn't about "deliverables." 

Mr. Biden has said he believes its best for the leaders of two countries to sit down together in person to hash out issues, rather than rely on lower-level officials. The president has noted that he has met with Xi perhaps more than any other U.S. official. He often recounts a vignette from one such meeting, in which Xi asked him to describe America in one word. Mr. Biden says he responded: "Possibilities." 

The president leaves Thursday night for a three-part trip to Egypt, Cambodia and Indonesia, a grueling schedule just after the conclusion of Tuesday's midterm elections. First, he'll stop in Egypt for the COP27 United Nations climate change summit, then head to Cambodia this weekend for the annual U.S.-ASEAN summit and East Asia Summit. Finally, he'll travel to Bali for the G20 summit. 

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