The president of the United States, Joe Biden, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will hold a much-anticipated virtual summit on Monday, November 15 “in the afternoon,” as the White House declared on Friday, amid growing bilateral tensions over Taiwan, human rights, trade and cybersecurity. “Both leaders will discuss ways to manage the existing competition” between the two powers, according to a statement from White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who states that during the interview, Biden “will be clear and frank about the concerns” from Washington. towards Beijing.
Since Biden took office last January, the two dignitaries have had two phone calls, the most recent on September 9. But Monday’s summit will be the first time in the American’s mandate that they have communicated face-to-face in a formal summit format.
Traditionally, world leader to leader summits are carefully designed to produce some kind of tangible result. But senior White House officials said that will not be the case at the Biden-Xi summit. Washington and Beijing reach the summit after having had months of discussions on their agenda about the origin of the covid-19 pandemic or China’s growing nuclear arsenal. Senior US officials believe that seeking a direct engagement with Xi is the best way to prevent the current ties between the world’s two largest economies from being blown up.
China is keen to avoid any confrontation as President Xi faces a crucial year, with the holding of the Winter Olympics in Beijing and a key Communist Party congress in which he seeks to secure an unprecedented third term.
Beijing has been ramping up military exercises near Taiwan in recent months, a show of force that has not gone unnoticed by the Biden administration. In turn, China has also drawn international condemnation for its campaign to “re-educate” members of the Uighur Muslim minority ethnic group. This “re-education” includes forced labor, the mass incarceration of more than a million people in camps, and the alleged sterilization of Uighur women. Last March, the United States and its allies imposed sanctions on several officials in Xinjiang province, the traditional homeland of the Uyghur people. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called the treatment of Uighurs in China “a genocide.”
Monday’s gathering will come after Biden’s grand ceremony signs the $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal to celebrate national renewal plans that the Democratic Administration believes will put the United States at an advantage to compete with China.
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