US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual summit on Monday amid tensions over trade, human rights and military activities, a source said on Thursday.
Washington and Beijing have debated a variety of issues, from the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic to the expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal.
US officials believe that direct engagement with Xi is the best way to prevent relations between the world’s two largest economies from escalating into conflict. The White House declined to comment.
Xi’s demand for Biden to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing could put the US president in an awkward position as he presses China on human rights.
Biden and Xi last spoke on September 9 in a 90-minute conversation that a senior U.S. official said focused on economic issues, climate change and COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the two countries unveiled a framework agreement at the United Nations climate conference in Scotland aimed at stepping up cooperation to tackle climate change.
Biden and Xi’s latest virtual meeting was agreed in principle last month during talks in Zurich between US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi.
The White House said Sullivan expressed concern about China’s actions in the South China Sea, as well as human rights and Beijing’s position in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan. (Straitstimes / OL-12)