Biden and Xi ‘prepared for NOVEMBER showdown’: US and Chinese presidents will have first face-to-face meeting in three years after Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan and rising tension over military drills
- Chinese officials reportedly preparing for November meeting in Asia
- Joe Biden spoke by phone with Xi Jinping in late July
- US officials said they ended the call by agreeing to an in-person meeting
- Since then, relations have soured with Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan
- Beijing responded by launching war games around the self-governing island
The first meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese Xi Jinping could take place in November on the sidelines of an international summit in Asia, according to people familiar with the planning.
Details emerged Thursday at a time of intense tension between the two countries, following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.
Beijing responded with belligerent rhetoric and live-fire military drills around the self-governing island.
Now, Chinese officials are reportedly planning for Xi to travel to Southeast Asia in what would be his first international trip in three years, where he would have his first face-to-face meeting with Biden since the US president took office.
Officials involved in the preparations told the Wall Street Journal that the 69-year-old Chinese leader will attend his party’s convention in the fall – where he is expected to break with precedent and seek a third term as prime minister.
Chinese officials are reportedly working on plans for a face-to-face meeting between Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden on the sidelines of Southeast Asia summits in November
A billboard in Taipei welcomed President Pelosi to the island as Taiwanese showed their support
Pelosi’s visit sparked Chinese wargames around the self-governing island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory
Next, he is due to attend a Group of 20 nations summit on the Indonesian island of Bali on November 15-16.
And from there, he will travel to Bangkok, the Thai capital, for an Asia-Pacific economic cooperation summit two days later.
As part of the planning, officials are preparing a meeting with Biden on the sidelines of one of the summits — though those plans could change, they said.
US officials said they could not comment on the preparations underway by the Chinese authorities.
But a White House official reiterated what was said after the two leaders spoke by phone late last month that the officials were working on a face-to-face meeting.
China’s Foreign Ministry told the Wall Street Journal: “China supports Indonesia and Thailand as hosts of the two conferences, and is willing to work with all parties to promote the conference in order to obtain positive results”.
Xi has not left China since January 2020, when he paid a state visit to Burma. Days later, Chinese health authorities declared a public health emergency as COVID took hold.
President Joe Biden said he was ‘concerned’ but ‘not worried’ about Chinese military exercises around Taiwan as he left his Delaware beach house on Monday morning
Meanwhile, China has stepped up its claims on Taiwan and fears have grown in recent weeks that it could be on the verge of launching an invasion.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan last week after days of speculation she intended to make the trip and potentially escalate tensions with Beijing, which views Taiwan as Chinese territory that will eventually be reunited with the mainland.
It made her the highest-ranking American lawmaker to visit Taiwan in decades.
In response, Beijing deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles around Taiwan in what analysts said was a practice for a blockade or invasion of the island.
This week, Biden said he was “concerned” but “not worried” about the Chinese military exercises.
And Biden avoided criticizing Pelosi.
“It was his decision,” he said when asked about the trip by reporters as he left his Delaware beach house for a day trip to Kentucky on Monday morning.
Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell accused China of overreacting and using it as a pretext to try to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait
“China has overreacted and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented,” he told reporters, describing it as an “intensified pressure campaign” against Taiwan.