The two leaders will meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the San Francisco Bay area.
Topics for their meeting are expected to include the Israel-Hamas war to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea‘s ties with Russia, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific, human rights, fentanyl, artificial intelligence, as well as ‘fair’ trade and economic relations, administration officials said.
President Joe Biden, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in November 2022
‘Nothing will be held back; everything is on the table,’ one senior Biden administration official told reporters.
‘We’re clear-eyed about this. We know efforts to shape or reform China over several decades have failed. But we expect China to be around and to be a major player on the world stage for the rest of our lifetimes.’
Officials declined to offer details about the location of Biden’s and Xi’s meeting, citing security concerns. Thousands of protesters are expected to descend on San Francisco during the summit.
The two men last met at a G20 meeting in November 2022 in Bali. They have not spoken since.
But several top Cabinet officials – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo – have traveled to China as both sides try to keep relations open.
At their sitdown in San Francisco, Biden is expected to raise the sensitive issue of China’s influence operations in America along with the status of U.S. citizens that Washington believes are wrongly detained in China.
Since their last meeting, the U.S. has expressed concerns about Chinese espionage in the U.S. In February a Chinese spy balloon made its way across the United States until an American fighter jet downed it off the coast of South Carolina.
The administration is also concerned about China’s military aggression in Taiwan.
But the main goal of the meeting is to keep communication going.
‘The goals here really are about managing the competition, preventing the downside risk of conflict and ensuring channels of communication are open,’ said an administration official.
A homeless encampment is seen along Leavenworth Street in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco ahead of next week’s APCE meeting when CEOs, world leaders, protesters and others will descend on the city
The suspected Chinese spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, in February
Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to make the island’s decades-old de facto independence permanent – which American leaders say they don’t support.
With the ‘One China’ policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as the government of China and doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it has maintained that Taipei is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific.
Xi, meanwhile, is expected to focus on showing leaders of American industry that his country is open for business. After he and Biden meet, Xi is expected to speak to top American business executives at a ‘C.E.O. Summit’ taking place on the sidelines of the main APEC meeting.