Biden insists he doesnt want conflict with China as meeting with Xi on table

Joe Biden has insisted he “doesn’t want conflict” with China as reports suggest both sides have agreed to a meeting between the US President and Xi Jinping next month.

Mr Biden and his Chinese counterpart will meet on the sidelines of next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, according to one US official familiar with the planning.

The two sides worked out an agreement in principle to hold a meeting during the summit as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Friday with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, according to the official, who was not authorised to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official said the two sides have still not worked out details on the exact day of the meeting, venue and other logistics.

Mr Biden did not directly refer to the matter when speaking to reporters at White House yesterday as he hosted a visit from Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese.

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However, while vowing to compete with China in “every way according to the international rules – economically, politically, in other ways”, he stressed: “I’m not looking for conflict.”

The White House said in a statement after Friday’s meetings that the two sides were “working toward” a Biden-Xi face-to-face on the sidelines of APEC, a forum of 21 Pacific countries.

Earlier, Mr Biden met with Wang, holding an hour-long talk with the senior Chinese official in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

The meeting, with Mr Blinken and Mr Sullivan present, was the latest in a series of high-level contacts between the two countries as they explore the possibility of stabilising an increasingly tense relationship at a time of conflict in both Ukraine and Israel.

The White House said Biden “emphasised that both the United States and China need to manage competition in the relationship responsibly and maintain open lines of communication,” and he “underscored that the United States and China must work together to address global challenges”.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Mr Biden viewed his meeting with Wang as “a positive development, and a good opportunity to keep the conversation going.”

Mr Biden had been widely expected to talk with Wang, a reciprocal action after Xi met with Mr Blinken in June.

Beijing has yet to confirm if Xi will travel to San Francisco for the annual APEC summit, which runs from November 11 to November 17.

Wang is in the midst of a three-day visit to Washington, where he has met with top US officials. He sat down with Blinken on Friday morning for the second time during his trip.

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On Thursday, after their initial meeting, the Chinese side said “the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on China-US relations and issues of common concern in a constructive atmosphere.”

The US State Department said the two men addressed “areas of difference” and “areas of cooperation,” while Blinken “reiterated that the United States will continue to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners.”

Speaking before Thursday’s meeting, Wang said China’s goal was to “push the relationship as soon as possible back to the track of healthy, stable and sustainable development”.

US officials had said they would press Wang on the importance of China stepping up its role on the world stage if it wants to be considered a responsible major international player.

The US has been disappointed with China over its support for Russia in the war against Ukraine and its relative silence on the war between Israel and Hamas.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said China “should use whatever ability it has as an influential power to urge calm” in the Middle East.

He continued: “We know China has relationships with a number of countries in the region, and we would urge them to use those relationships, the lines of communication they have, to urge calm and stability.”

Specifically, US officials believe the Chinese have considerable leverage with Iran, which is a major backer of Hamas.

Wang came to Washington at a time when tensions between the two countries remain high, including over US export controls on advanced technology and China’s more assertive actions in the East and South China seas.

On Thursday, the US military released a video of a Chinese fighter jet flying within 10 feet (three metres) of an American B-52 bomber over the South China Sea, nearly causing an accident.

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