Biden-Xi virtual summit set for Monday evening amid rising China tensions

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  • The White House says President Joe Biden will hold a one-on-one virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping this Monday.
  • The summit comes as the United States and China face off on key geopolitical issues such as trade, human rights, military construction, Taiwan and cyber security.
  • Yet despite the deep divide between the two countries, Biden is prioritizing maintaining open lines of communication with Beijing.

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will hold a much-anticipated virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday evening, CNBC has confirmed.

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Biden and Xi have made two phone calls since Biden took office in January, most recently on September 9. But Monday’s summit will be the first time in Biden’s tenure that he has communicated face-to-face in a formal summit format.

Traditionally, world leader-to-leader summits are carefully choreographed to produce some sort of tangible outcome. But senior White House officials said the Biden-Xi summit would not happen.

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“It’s not about seeking specific deliverables or results,” said an administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss an agenda that was still being finalized on Friday.

“It is about establishing the conditions for an effective competition where we are in a position to protect our values ​​and interests and that of our allies and partners,” the official said. “We believe that when such conditions—or guardrails—are established, we can maintain a vigorous competition.”

The summit comes as the United States and China face off on key geopolitical issues such as trade, human rights, military construction, Taiwan and cyber security.

China has been increasing military exercises near Taiwan in recent months, a display of force that did not go unnoticed by the Biden administration.

Beijing has also drawn international condemnation for its campaign to “re-educate” members of its Uighur Muslim minority ethnic group. This “re-education” includes bonded labor, mass incarceration of more than a million people in “re-education” camps and Alleged sterilization of Uighur women,

In March, the United States and its allies restrictions imposed On several authorities in Xinjiang province, the traditional homeland of the Uyghur people. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has called the treatment of Uighurs in China “genocide”.

On business, Beijing is pushing the Biden administration Raise Trump-era tariffs on more than $350 billion But Washington has stalled, choosing instead to leave the tariffs in place and attempt to open a new round of trade talks.

Yet despite these deep divisions between the two countries, Biden is prioritizing maintaining open lines of communication with Beijing.

“Intense competition requires intense diplomacy,” the White House official said. “As President Biden has made clear, he welcomes tough competition, but doesn’t want conflict.”

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Recently, Washington and Beijing have sought to highlight their cooperation on issues where the interests of the two countries meet.

This collaboration was seen last Wednesday at the COP24 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

There, Chinese and US envoys announced a surprise joint agreement to set new goals for reducing fossil fuel consumption.

The United States and China are responsible for more than 35% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, although China produces more than twice as much as the US.

Climate change is one of the few issues where Washington and Beijing may face each other. More often than not, the two countries are on opposite sides.

Under Xi’s leadership, China’s one-party communist government has attempted to dethrone the United States as the world’s number one economic and political power.

To do so, it has increased its economic influence around the world, funding infrastructure projects in developing countries and forming purely transactional alliances with countries.

Back home, the Communist Party has violently suppressed dissidents in Hong Kong, and gradually restricted freedoms enjoyed by citizens of the former British protectorate for a century.

For the White House, these gradual developments are part of a longer-term Chinese plan that in some ways presents a greater threat to the United States than any one of the strategic issues alone.

In both word and deed, China is striving to provide the world with an attractive alternative to liberal, rules-based democracy. Beijing’s message is that democracy has failed to do anything for its people, and that human rights and individual liberties have been eroded.

Biden has responded to this imminent threat by working to unite US allies in the Pacific Ocean, the G7 summit and NATO.

“We are in a competition – not with China – but with autocratic, autocratic governments around the world, whether democracies can compete with them in a rapidly changing 21st century,” Biden said. said At the NATO summit earlier this year.

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