Biden and China’s Xi will meet in virtual summit next week

Biden and China's Xi will meet in virtual summit next week

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit next week, according to a report — the development coming after Biden dodged an inquiry from The Post about pressing China on COVID-19 origins.

A specific date wasn’t reported by Bloomberg News, which cited two officials saying it’s set to occur next week. The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Biden frequently reminisces about his relationship with Xi while he was vice president from 2009-2017, and on Monday he listened to a question about his plans to get China to be transparent about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic before he walked off without answering.

Biden hardly ever mentions pushing China to stop concealing early data on COVID-19, which has killed more than 750,000 Americans. US spy agencies in August assessed that it’s “plausible” the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Biden often strikes a conciliatory tone toward China, saying that he doesn’t want conflict with the authoritarian nation — though he said in October during a CNN town hall when pressed that he would order the US military to defend Taiwan from mainland China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping has not left China in nearly two years.
REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins//File Photo

It’s unclear how much of the virtual summit will be open to the public.

Biden has spoken twice privately on the phone with Xi since he took office — in February and again in September. The most recent call lasted about 90 minutes, the White House said.

Biden will convene the summit amid reports that his son Hunter Biden still co-owns a Chinese investment firm with state-owned entities. The company, BHR Partners, was formed 12 days after Hunter Biden joined his father aboard Air Force Two for a 2013 trip to Beijing.

A 2017 email recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop described a 10 percent set-aside for “the big guy” as part of a prospective deal involving a Chinese energy company. Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski said Joe Biden was the “big guy.”

White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that Biden intends to meet virtually with Xi either this month or in December.

“We have an agreement in principle with the PRC that President Xi and President Biden will have a virtual bilateral meeting before the end of the year,” she said. “This is part of our ongoing efforts to responsibly manage the competition between our countries, not only — not about seeking specific deliverables, so I want to make clear on that.”

Xi hasn’t left China in nearly two years as the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

So far, Biden has kept many of former President Donald Trump’s policies toward China, including tariffs on Chinese goods and sanctions on Chinese officials for eliminating Hong Kong’s autonomy and for mistreating Uyghur Muslim minorities. But administration officials also mention potential cooperation on issues such as global warming.

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