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

According to the White House, President Biden and Xi Jinping will have a virtual meeting Monday night. It will mark the third interaction between the leaders of China since January when Biden was elected.

“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. 

There was no indication that the leaders of the United States and China would meet to discuss the current pandemic. Biden answered a question on Monday about China’s initial pandemic in Wuhan, but he left without answering.

Biden chose not to raise the matter on their Sept. 9 conversation with Xi. It was their first communication since the US intelligence team submitted a report to President Obama on COVID-19’s origins after a 90 day review. The review did not conclude on whether the virus had escaped from an experimental facility or passed from animal to human.

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

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