US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday night US time, the White House said Friday, but officials stressed it is unlikely to yield a long list of specific outcomes.
“The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the PRC, as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
“Throughout, President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns with the PRC,” Psaki said.
Washington and Beijing have been sparring on issues from the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic to China’s expanding nuclear arsenal. U.S. officials believe direct engagement with Xi is the best way to prevent ties between the world’s two biggest economies from spiraling toward conflict.
Beijing is also keen to avoid confrontation as Xi faces a crucial year ahead with Beijing’s hosting of the Winter Olympic Games and a key Communist Party Congress where he looks to secure an unprecedented third term.
Monday’s meeting is expected to mark the most extensive leader level talks between China and the United States for the Biden administration to date.
A senior U.S. administration official said Biden would use the meeting to make clear that he welcomes stiff competition with China, but doesn’t want conflict, and downplayed the likelihood of a long list of outcomes often tied to senior leader meetings.
“This is not about seeking specific deliverables or outcomes,” the official told reporters.
“As we compete with the PRC, President Biden expects President Xi and the PRC to play by the rules of road~CHECK~and he will make that point throughout the meeting,” the official said.
The meeting will come after Biden signs a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal in a big ceremony on Monday to celebrate domestic renewal plans that his administration believes will position the United States to out compete China.
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