By David Culver, Yong Xiong and Nectar Gan, CNN
China is poised to face differences with the United States, the country’s leader Xi Jinping said Tuesday ahead of a scheduled virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden.
The meeting, the first since Biden became president earlier this year, will take place next week, a source familiar with the schedule told CNN. However, no specific details and a fixed date have been set.
The news of the appointment was first reported by Bloomberg.
It comes as Xi hinted at a slight warming in relations with the US, according to a statement published Tuesday on the website of the Chinese embassy in the US.
In the letter, Xi said China is ready to “improve exchanges and cooperation across the board” with the US and get relations between the two world powers back on track.
The letter was read Tuesday by the Chinese ambassador to the US Qin Gang at a dinner of the National Committee on US-China Relations in Washington.
US officials revealed last month that they had reached an agreement in principle with China to hold a virtual meeting between Biden and Xi before the end of the year, as part of an effort to ensure stability in one of the world’s most profound and fraught relations. .
That preliminary agreement was the result of an extended six-hour meeting between Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi in Switzerland, just days after Beijing dispatched record-breaking numbers of warplanes into Taiwan’s defense zone.
Victor Shih, an expert on elite Chinese politics at the University of California, San Diego, said the meeting is a positive development for bilateral relations.
“I think the bilateral meeting next week is a tentative sign that US-China relations are getting back on a more normal track — than (which was) the case in the later Trump years,” Shih told CNN.
The meeting is also likely to motivate officials, especially on the Chinese side — from the State Department to the Department of Commerce — to refocus their energies on the US-China relationship and devise ways to improve it, it added. Shih to it.
The last time Biden and Xi spoke was in September, on a phone call that lasted about 90 minutes.
“The two leaders had a broad, strategic discussion in which they discussed areas where our interests converge and areas where our interests, values and perspectives diverge,” according to a readout of the White House call.
“They agreed to talk openly and clearly about both sets of issues. This discussion, as President Biden made clear, was part of the United States’ ongoing effort to responsibly manage competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. manage,” the statement said.
A senior official described the tone of the call as “respectful” and “trustworthy and candid.”
The two leaders also spoke for two hours in February — their first call since Biden took office.
“It was a good conversation, I know him well, we spent a lot of time together during the years I was vice president. But you know, if we don’t move, they’ll eat our lunch,” Biden said at the time, outlining China’s efforts to invest in rail and other transportation.
Xi has not left China for 21 months, following steps to tighten its borders in response to the pandemic. He skipped the G20 summit at the end of October, as well as the COP26 climate conference in Scotland this month.
Last week, Biden criticized Xi for failing to show up at COP26, saying he made a “big mistake”.
Xi’s absence from the global stage has been noted among world leaders and, aside from wanting to focus on internal issues such as eliminating Covid-19, it hints at a potential withdrawal from global cooperation. China’s relations with the US and other Western countries are at their lowest point in decades — a point Biden has not forgotten.
“The fact that China, understandably, is trying to claim a new role in the world as a global leader – doesn’t show up? Come on,” Biden said in Glasgow.
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