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President Biden to hold virtual summit with President Xi Jinping on November 15

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US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit on Monday to discuss ways to “responsibly manage” the competition between the two countries, as well as ways to work together where their interests align, the White House announced on Friday.

US officials said last month that they had reached a tentative agreement with China to hold a virtual meeting between Biden and Xi before the end of the year, as part of an effort to ensure stability in one of the world’s most consequential and fraught relationships.

“In the evening of Monday November 15 in Washington, DC, President Joseph R Biden, Jr. will meet virtually with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

“Following their September 9 phone call, 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,” she said.

“Throughout, President Biden will make clear US intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns with the PRC,” Psaki said in a statement.

Tensions between the US and China have escalated in the last several years.

President Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, followed a tough stance on China, beginning with trade. Trump levied tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of imports from China, prompting retaliation from Beijing.

The Biden administration has maintained Trump’s tough position, and worked more with traditional US allies to collectively put pressure on Beijing on a range of issues, including human rights, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet.

Biden has also stepped up America’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, which has seen aggressive moves by the Chinese military.

However, in a surprise move, China and the US this week announced at that the two countries will boost climate co-operation. The US and China are the world’s two biggest CO2 emitters.

The announcement by the two global rivals was made on Wednesday at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The last time Biden and Xi spoke was in September, in a phone call that lasted roughly 90 minutes.

The two leaders also spoke for two hours in February — their first phone call since Biden took office in January this year.

The tentative agreement to hold a virtual summit between Xi and Biden was the result of an extended, six-hour meeting between Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi in Switzerland, just days after Beijing sent record-breaking numbers of war planes into Taiwan’s defence zone.

President Xi has not left China in 21 months, following moves to tighten the country’s borders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He skipped the G20 summit in late October, as well as the COP26 climate conference in Scotland this month.

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