U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali, Indonesia, November 14, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Biden, China's Xi will discuss communication, competition at APEC summit

Sullivan said Biden will also raise stability across the Middle East with Xi.

14 November 2023

WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will discuss strengthening communication and managing competition when they meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the San Francisco Bay area on Nov. 15.

Biden believes there is no substitute for face-to-face diplomacy to manage this complex relationship, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

"We anticipate that the leaders will discuss some of the most fundamental elements of the U.S.-PRC bilateral relationship, including the continued importance of strengthening open lines of communication and managing competition responsibly so that it does not veer into conflict," Sullivan told reporters.

"The way we achieve that is through intense diplomacy. That's how we clear up misperceptions and avoid surprises," Sullivan said, adding Biden "comes into this summit on a solid footing."

Sullivan also said the U.S. is looking for specific outcomes from the meeting on November 15, he said.

The face-to-face meeting will take place for the first time in a year on Wednesday, with the high-stakes diplomacy aimed at curbing tensions between the world's two superpowers.

Biden and Xi have known each other for more than a decade and shared hours of conversation over six interactions since Biden's 2021 inauguration. But both men come to the table with mutual suspicion, grievances and garbled impressions of what the other is seeking, analysts and officials say.

The meeting is also expected to cover global issues from the Israel-Hamas war to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, North Korea's ties with Russia, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific, human rights, fentanyl, artificial intelligence, as well as "fair" trade and economic relations, senior Biden administration officials said.

Sullivan said Biden will also raise stability across the Middle East with Xi.

"From our perspective, the PRC should share the interest of every responsible country that de-escalation rather than escalation in the broader Middle East should be the order of the day," he said.

Biden will make the point to Xi, that Iran acting in an "escalatory destabilizing way that undermines stability across the broader Middle East," is not in the interests of China, he said.

"And the PRC, of course, has a relationship with Iran, and it's capable, if it chooses, to of making those points directly to the Iranian government," Sullivan said.