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Biden, Xi Begin First Face-to-Face Meeting in Over 1 Year

Meeting comes as China and US seek to manage competition that has come to define their bilateral ties.

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, began Wednesday their first face-to-face bilateral meeting with hopes of relieving some of the stressors defining US-Sino relations.

Biden and Xi are meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, California, their first sit-down since last seeing each other in November 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.

“There is no substitute to face-to-face discussions. I’ve always found our discussions straightforward and frank, and I’ve always appreciated them,” Biden told Xi in brief remarks at the top of their closed-door meeting.

“Mr. President, we’ve know each other for a long time. We haven’t always agreed, which has not surprised anyone, but our meetings have always been candid, straightforward and useful. I’ve never doubted what you’ve told me in terms of the candid nature in which you speak.”

The meeting comes as China and the US seek to manage the competition that has come to define their bilateral ties. Tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea, economic and trade affairs, high-level military dialogue, and the Gaza conflict are expected to be discussed, among other issues.

Biden and his senior officials said ahead of the meeting that Washington is seeking to restore military-to-military communications, which Beijing suspended in retaliation for the February downing of a Chinese aircraft that the Biden administration maintains was part of a global surveillance program.

China has said it was a weather balloon that was blown off course when it transited the continental US.

Speaking after Biden, Xi said the US-China relationship is “the most important bilateral relationship in the world,” saying it should be developed “in a way that benefits our two peoples and fulfills our responsibility for human progress.”

“For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option. It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. And conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequences for both sides,” he said in translated remarks.

“I’m still of the view that major country competition is not the prevailing trend of current times, and cannot solve the problems facing China and the United States, or the world at large,” he added.

The comments appear to be an allusion to Biden’s repeated emphasis that “competition” between the nations “does not veer into conflict,” a phrase he reiterated Wednesday.

“We also have to manage it responsibly, the competition. That’s what the United States wants, and what we intend to do. I also believe its what the world wants,” he said.

Beijing and Washington have held several rounds of talks at senior levels to make Xi’s US trip happen, his first since 2015.

Source : Anadolu Ajansı