President Joe Biden is planning to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California later this month, the White House said Tuesday.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the announcement during a Tuesday press briefing. She said the president would meet with the Chinese leader on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, which is set to take place in mid-November.
“The president said he’s looking forward to meeting with President Xi and so [I’m] not going to get into details about this meeting that’s going to happen […] next month,” Jean-Pierre said. “It’s going to be in San Francisco, it’s going to be a constructive meeting, the president’s looking forward to it.”
Jean-Pierre wouldn’t divulge any further details on the planned meeting, according to CNBC, but said that she expects the two world leaders to have a “tough conversation.” She added that the administration’s stance on the communist country has not changed.
“This is intense competition — that we have said that we want to move forward with China — and intense competition means intense diplomacy, that’s what you’re going to see,” she said. “That’s what the president is going to be doing and having a tough conversation but important conversation.”
On Wednesday, a senior Biden administration official told Reuters Biden and Xi have an “agreement in principle” to meet, while advisers for each leader are still working through the details to “finalize” that plan.
According to the outlet, Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Friday to discuss the possibility of a meeting between the two leaders. Fox News reports that talks of a Biden-Xi meeting have been in the works for months, intending to build back trust and restore communication between the United States and China.
Potential topics of discussion between Biden and Xi include increased Chinese aggression toward Taiwan and Xi Jinping’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, all topics that U.S. officials have expressed concern about in recent weeks, CBS News reports.
In 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday, China sent 43 aircraft and seven ships near Taiwan — 37 of those aircraft reportedly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. And just weeks ago, Putin traveled to China to meet with Xi, where they discussed trade, the Israel-Hamas war, and maintaining “close foreign policy coordination,” as the Russian president put it.
The last time Biden met in person with Xi was a year ago while in Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 Summit.