Xi, Biden for virtual talks on Monday

Xi Jinping and Biden in a 2015 photo

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Biden in a 2015 photo

U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday, the White House said.

Washington hopes the talks will create some stability amid increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

It is expected to be the leaders’ most extensive meeting under the Biden administration and will follow on from a telephone call between the two on Sept. 9.

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 spiralling toward conflict.

“The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition … as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns.”

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Beijing is also keen to avoid confrontation as Xi faces a crucial year ahead with China’s hosting of the Winter Olympic Games.

A key Communist Party Congress is also scheduled, where Xi looks to secure an unprecedented third term.

China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday the leaders would exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common interests in the summit, which will take place on Tuesday morning in Asia.

A senior U.S. official said Biden would make clear he welcomes stiff competition with China, but doesn’t want conflict, and played down the likelihood of a long list of outcomes often tied to top-level meetings.

“This is not about seeking specific deliverables or outcomes,” the official said, adding in reference to the People’s Republic of China.

“As we compete with the PRC, President Biden expects President Xi and the PRC to play by the rules of road—and he will make that point throughout the meeting.”

The meeting will come after Biden signs a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal in a big ceremony on Monday to celebrate domestic renewal plans he believes will position the United States to out-compete China.

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