Biden and Xi to Convene in California for Talks on Trade and U.S.-China Relations

President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold crucial discussions on trade, Taiwan, and the management of strained U.S.-Chinese relations during their upcoming meeting in California.

In a significant diplomatic move, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet in California on Wednesday, marking the first face-to-face engagement between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies in almost a year, according to officials from the Biden administration. The meeting is set to take place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, kicking off this Saturday.

Negotiations for the meeting continued up until the eve of the summit, with the White House confirming the anticipation of the encounter weeks prior. However, due to security concerns, officials declined to provide specific details about the meeting’s location in the San Francisco Bay area. The summit is expected to draw thousands of protesters, adding an additional layer of complexity to the high-stakes talks.

The meeting agenda is filled with challenging issues, reflecting the deepening complexities in the U.S.-Chinese relationship over the past year. Tensions have escalated over issues such as new U.S. export controls on advanced technology, the downing of a Chinese spy balloon by Biden, and Chinese objections to a stopover by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in the U.S.

Key topics on the agenda include Biden urging Xi to leverage China’s influence on North Korea amidst concerns over ballistic missile tests and support for Russia in the Ukraine conflict. Additionally, Biden is expected to emphasize China’s role in preventing escalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict, leveraging its influence as a major buyer of Iranian oil.

The meeting comes almost a year after the leaders’ last encounter during the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. The discussions then centered around China’s actions toward Taiwan, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and other global issues.

Looking ahead, the United States anticipates a potentially challenging year in U.S.-Chinese relations, with Taiwan’s presidential election in January and the U.S. presidential election next November. Managing contact with Taiwan remains a sensitive issue, with Beijing viewing it as encouragement for the island’s independence.

In light of disinformation concerns, the Biden administration has made it clear to China that any interference in the 2024 election would raise strong concerns. The restoration of military-to-military communications is also a priority, given the recent spike in unsafe encounters between U.S. and Chinese ships and aircraft.

As tensions persist in the South China Sea, Biden is set to underscore the U.S. commitment to the Philippines following incidents involving Chinese ships in the contested region. The exact venue of the meeting has not been publicized, as both sides carefully consider security measures.

Amidst the diplomatic discussions, San Francisco is gearing up for protests on various issues, including climate destruction, corporate practices, and the Israel-Hamas war. The San Francisco Police Department is preparing for multiple protests, emphasizing the city’s commitment to respecting peaceful mobilization while maintaining zero tolerance for violence or property destruction.

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