Biden and Xi will meet Wednesday for talks on trade, Taiwan and managing fraught US-China relations

by Sophia Chen
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President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are scheduled to convene this Wednesday in California for a crucial discussion focusing on trade, the Taiwan issue, and the tense relations between the United States and China. This marks their first in-person meeting in nearly a year, as confirmed by Biden administration officials.

The venue for this meeting, set in the context of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, was finalized after intense negotiations that lasted until the eve of the summit, which begins on Saturday.

White House officials, speaking under anonymity as per the administration’s protocol, revealed on Friday that the meeting would take place in the San Francisco Bay area, though specific details were withheld due to security reasons. Anticipating the summit, a significant number of protesters are expected in San Francisco.

While major breakthroughs or announcements are not anticipated from this meeting, it is seen as a step towards managing competitive aspects of the U.S.-China relationship, averting conflicts, and maintaining open communication channels, according to one official.

The discussion will tackle a range of contentious issues that have heightened tensions between the U.S. and China over the past year. These include China’s reaction to new U.S. technology export controls, the U.S.’s downing of a Chinese surveillance balloon, and Chinese displeasure over Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s earlier visit to the U.S. China considers Taiwan part of its territory.

Another critical topic Biden is expected to address is urging Xi to leverage China’s influence over North Korea amidst increasing ballistic missile tests and North Korea’s supply of munitions to Russia for the conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, Biden aims to discuss China’s role in restraining Iran or its proxies from escalating the Israel-Hamas conflict. The U.S. views China, a significant importer of Iranian oil, as having considerable influence over Iran, a primary supporter of Hamas.

This meeting follows Biden and Xi’s last encounter nearly a year ago at the G20 summit in Bali, where they discussed Taiwan, the Ukraine crisis, and other issues. Xi emphasized the centrality of the Taiwan issue to China-U.S. relations, declaring it a non-negotiable red line.

Looking ahead, the U.S. is preparing for a challenging year in its relations with China, especially with the upcoming presidential elections in both Taiwan and the U.S.

The U.S. maintains a “One China” policy, recognizing Beijing as the Chinese government while not diplomatically engaging with Taiwan, though acknowledging its significance in the Indo-Pacific region. Biden plans to reaffirm this stance, advocating for no change in the status quo.

Concerns about Beijing potentially influencing U.S. elections, particularly in districts with significant Chinese-American populations, have been raised

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