Relations between Washington and Beijing are strained. On Monday, US President Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi for the first time since taking office. There’s a lot to talk about.
US President Joe Biden expects frank exchanges during his meeting with China’s leader Xi Jinping on Monday. “We just have to find out where the red lines are – and what the most important things are for each of us in the next two years,” Biden told journalists on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.
“I know him well. He knows me,” Biden continued. “I spent more time with him than any other leader in the world,” the US president said, referring to his previous meetings with Xi Jinping when they were both vice presidents. “We always had open discussions.” There were “never any misunderstandings” between them. “I think that’s crucial for the relationship.”
Both presidents will meet on Monday for their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office almost two years ago. The meeting comes ahead of the Group of Great Economic Powers (G20) summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Numerous points of conflict
China-US relations are at a low ebb. Points of contention are China’s backing for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine war, the ongoing trade war and sanctions against Chinese high-tech companies, China’s threats to democratic Taiwan and China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
China accuses the US of wanting to hinder its rise in the world. The US, in turn, increasingly sees China as an economic rival and threat. At the meeting, Biden also wants to address the tug-of-war over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its recent missile-testing provocations.
His national security adviser Jake Sullivan said he was looking for a “constructive role” for China in the conflict. If North Korea continues on this path, the US is only likely to increase its military and security presence in the region. China has a vested interest in curbing North Korea’s “worst tendencies.”