Biden, Xi to hold talks in Bali on Monday

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Biden hopes to have “honest” conversations about China’s policies regarding Taiwan, human rights issues and some of its trade and economic practices….reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden will seek to “build a floor” and “rules for the road” for bilateral ties with China when he meets President Xi Jinping on Monday ahead of the G-20 meet in Indonesia’s Bali, a senior Biden administration official said on Thursday.

Biden also hopes to have “honest” conversations about China’s policies regarding Taiwan, human rights issues and some of its trade and economic practices.

This will be their first in-person meeting as Presidents of their respective countries. They first met as Vice President in 2011 and have spoken five times since Biden took office as President.

President Biden himself told reporters that he expects the two of them to talk about “what each of our red lines are, understand what he believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States, and to determine whether or not they conflict with one another”.

“I am looking for competition, not conflict,” he added.

The two leaders will expect to have a better first in-person meeting than the one between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan with China’s Yang Jiechi, the director of China’s Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Anchorage, Alaska in March 2021, just weeks after Biden moved into the White House. They had exchanged angry words in the opening remarks, which were public.

The US-China relationship recently hit a new low for the Biden presidency after China responded angrily to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Beijing had gone on to snap military to military communications and other channels, which the US official described as an “over-reaction”.

The US expects the two leaders to hold “in-depth and substantive” discussions on an entire range of issues. They will exchange their respective perspective on the relationship – explore their respective redlines, as the President put it. Biden will also expect to have an “honest” conversation about US concerns over Chinese policies and actions across the Strait of Taiwan and human rights. The US side will also explore areas of mutual interest that they can work together on such as climate change and regional and global issues such as Russian invasion of Ukraine and North Korea.

The official tamped down expectations from what will clearly be one of Biden’s most important meetings with a world leader and said it will not be driven by deliverables. There won’t even be a joint statement either.

The Biden administration’s National Security Strategy issued in October described China as “the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to advance that objective”.

Russia, on the other hand, was portrayed as “an immediate threat to the free and open international system, recklessly flouting the basic laws of the international order today, as its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has shown”.

Biden will reach Bali from Egypt, where he will attend the climate conference.

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