WASHINGTON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – The White House is planning a face-to-face meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco next month, U.S. officials said. Still uncertain.
Biden’s team has been working for months to bring the two leaders together as a centerpiece during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco, Nov. 11-17.
But Biden and U.S. officials cautioned that the time and place of the meeting and the items for discussion were not firm. The Washington Post reported Thursday that plans for the San Francisco summit are „pretty solid.”
„There’s no such meeting set up, but it’s possible,” Biden told reporters after speaking on the U.S. economy at the White House on Friday.
What’s at stake:
U.S. officials see a meeting as essential to help cool a relationship that has grown testy in recent years amid rising tensions over Taiwan and Chinese military buildup in the South China Sea.
The Chinese cut off cross-military communications used to defuse conflict between the two countries after ties were severed following former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022, angering China.
Relations took a further downward spiral earlier this year when a Chinese balloon – what US officials called a sophisticated surveillance balloon – flew over the US and was eventually shot down by a US fighter jet.
Biden and Xi last met in 2022 on the sidelines of the G20 summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry have visited China this year to try to smooth ties and ensure continued communication.
The possibility of a Biden-Xi summit was one of the topics of discussion last month when White House National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Malta.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Heather Timmons and Josie Cao
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