WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden said Friday (Saturday in Manila) he may meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping in San Francisco in November as Washington and Beijing push to reset ties, but added that nothing is scheduled yet.
The leaders of the rival powers have not met in person or spoken for nearly a year, and tensions have mounted as an increasingly assertive China and the United States vie for global influence.
“There has been no such meeting set up, but it is a possibility,” Biden told journalists after reports that they were set to meet during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco.
Biden is set to host leaders from across the region on November 16 and 17 in the California city, and speculation has mounted that it could be the venue for a rapprochement.
The White House had begun making plans for a meeting on the sidelines of the summit in a bid to stabilize relations, The Washington Post reported, quoting one official as saying “it’s pretty firm.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to visit Washington at some point ahead of the APEC summit.
Beijing, however, has not confirmed whether Xi will attend the summit or meet with his US counterpart. The White House has also declined to elaborate on a potential meeting with Xi.
‘Disappointed’ The last time Biden and Xi met was in November 2022 on the sidelines of a summit in Bali. Their talks were surprisingly cordial but relations then froze over again, and there has not even been a phone call since.
Biden had said last month he was “disappointed” that Xi was not attending a G20 summit in New Delhi. He added that he was “going to get to see him,” although he did not elaborate.
Tensions between the United States and an increasingly assertive China have mounted as the world’s two largest economies push for diplomatic, military and economic influence.
Bilateral ties face a long list of problems, from trade disputes to Taiwan’s future to the expansive Chinese presence in the South China Sea.
But the United States has been working to restore a more effective working relationship, sending a series of senior officials to China in recent months despite continuing friction.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and China’s Wang met in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta in mid-September in the latest attempt to reach out.
The APEC forum will be a key test of whether their efforts are working, as the Asia-Pacific region is one of the main theaters where Beijing and Washington are going head-to-head.
Biden has also been pushing to show that international groupings like the G20 and APEC can still deliver on problems including the economy and climate — even when China is not involved.
Source : The Manila Times