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Joe Biden to meet Xi Jinping at G20 in Bali for first in-person talks

A file photo of Joe Biden with Chinese President Xi Jinping (Image courtesy: White House)

US President Joe Biden will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping face-to-face on Monday, in what will be their first in-person talks since Biden took office. 

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

US officials are entering the meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali without expectations for major deliverables or even the hope that tensions will be significantly eased, according to a CNN report.

But they do hope Biden can “build the floor” of a functional relationship that doesn’t tip over into conflict and even allows for productive cooperation in areas like climate and North Korea.

U.S. President Joe Biden hopes to limit the deterioration of ties with China when he meets its leader Xi Jinping next week, but will be honest about U.S. concerns, including over Taiwan and human rights, a Reuters report cited a senior administration official as saying on Thursday.

“The president believes it is critical to build a floor for the relationship and ensure that there are rules of the road that bound our competition,” the official told reporters in a call on the meeting.

Instead of any significant takeaways, US officials hope the two leaders can at least come to a mutual understanding about where they see the relationship between the world’s largest economies. The official said the talks would be “in depth” and “substantive.”

The senior administration official said there would be no joint statement from a meeting at which there are no expectations for specific agreements.

Washington’s ties with China have hit rock bottom, especially since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s August trip to Taiwan, the self-governed democratic island that Beijing claims as its territory.

China is America’s arch-strategic rival and also the second-largest economy in the world after the United States. Tensions have mounted between the two countries over Taiwan, the South China Sea, and human rights violations.