Virtual meeting set for Joe Biden, China’s Xi Jinping

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Virtual meeting set for Joe Biden, China's Xi Jinping

President Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will meet virtually Monday night for the third conversation between the two leaders since Biden took office in January, the White House announced Friday.

“The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the PRC, as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, referring to China by its official acronym.

“Throughout, President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns with the PRC,” she added.

The two leaders last spoke Sept. 9, during which Xi reportedly snubbed Biden’s request to meet in person.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have risen exponentially in recent months over trade, human rights abuses by China, the Communist nation’s response to the initial COVID-19 outbreak and its military ambitions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping
Monday’s meeting will be Biden’s third conversation with Xi since taking office in January.
REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

Monday’s meeting will be the first between Biden and Xi since reports emerged that China had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August. The potential test drew concerns from Biden and US military leaders who warned of the speed of China’s technological development.

This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US has begun testing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in Guam, as a potential shield from possible attacks from China. 

It was not clear whether the two leaders would discuss the ongoing pandemic. On Monday, Biden listened to a question about how he planned to get China to be transparent about the initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan before walking off without answering.

Biden did not raise the issue on the Sept. 9 call with Xi, which was the first conversation between the two leaders since the US intelligence community submitted a report to the president on the origins of COVID-19 following a 90-day review. That review was inconclusive on the question of whether the virus jumped from animals to humans or escaped from a research facility.

However, US spy agencies have assessed that it was “plausible” that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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