Biden, Xi to hold virtual meeting


US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday, the White House said, talks Washington hopes will create some stability amid increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

It is expected to be the leaders’ most extensive meeting under the Biden administration and will follow on from a telephone call between the two on September 9.

Washington and Beijing have been sparring on issues from the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic to China’s expanding nuclear arsenal. US officials believe direct engagement with Xi is the best way to prevent ties spiralling toward conflict.

“The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition … as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “President Biden will make clear US intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns.”

Beijing is also keen to avoid confrontation as Xi faces a crucial year ahead with China’s hosting of the Winter Olympic Games and a key Communist Party Congress where he looks to secure an unprecedented third term.

China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday the leaders would exchange views on bilateral relations.

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