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In a virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday evening, President Biden “will not withdraw” the concerns, as the Biden administration works to stabilize relations between the US and China.
The White House announced the meeting Friday, saying that the two leaders “will discuss ways to manage the competition between the United States and the PRC in a responsible manner, and to work together to ensure that our interests match.”
Virtual Summit set for Monday to discuss Biden-XI tensions
“Throughout, President Biden clarifies US objectives and priorities and is clear and honest about our concerns with the PRC,” the White House said.
In addition to discussing the relationship in general, the Biden administration in recent months has focused on China’s lack of transparency in its international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 epidemic.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a preview of the meeting that the source of the COVID-19 epidemic was a “residual concern” for Biden.
“A wide range of topics will be discussed,” said Psaki. “And the president is definitely not going to be put on hold in the areas he cares about.”
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the meeting on Monday evening, saying “we hope the US can work in the same direction with China and make coordinated efforts to make the meeting of the Heads of States a success.” , “Putting China-US Relationship Back on the Right Track of Voice and Sustainable Development.”
This visit is the third engagement between the two leaders since February. This comes after the US and China pledged to accelerate action in the UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this week to boost cooperation and curb climate-damaging emissions.
Biden and Xi have a familiar relationship after working together when they were both vice presidents.
February call: Biden releases ‘prescription’ for US-China relations on first call with XI Jinping after taking office
Biden once spoke with Xi on the phone in February, and in September he first proposed a virtual meeting with Xi, suggesting he would like to see her again.
However, Xi has not left China since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic. White House officials proposed the virtual summit as the best alternative available to the two leaders to have an objective conversation on a number of issues that could put pressure on the US-China relationship.
Biden used the first call to outline his administration’s “major concerns” with China’s “practices, acts of aggression and abuse” when discussing areas where he thought working with Beijing was not in the United States’ national interest.
According to senior administration officials, the September call was used to set “guardrails and parameters” in the US-China relationship, to ensure that the two countries were not “in conflict” when they were in “tough competition.”
“While we remain in a competitive space, we do not want it to turn into a conflict,” the official added, acknowledging that the US is “in a competitive position with China.”
“That’s a powerful framework for this relationship,” the officer said after the September call.
September call: Biden sets up ‘guardrails’ to ensure ‘competition does not conflict’ in Chinese call with XI Jinping
Historically, the official explained, there is a “binary” relationship between the United States and China.
“We are in an engagement period or a period of confrontation with China,” the official said.
“We are no longer there,” the official said, adding that the Biden administration feels the “goal” is to “reach a stable level.”
“We must be in a tight, competitive posture, but we can do many things at once,” the official said, pointing to China as being responsible for its practices and protecting the interests and values of the United States and US allies. .
Officials have warned that China is the “only competitor” capable of mounting a “challenge” to the international system.
The CIA announced last month the creation of the China Mission Center to deal with China. CIA Director William Burns stressed that the China Mission Center addresses the challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China and that “China is threatened by the government, not its people.”
Burns said the new Mission Center will bring “full-agency response” and “consolidate the exceptional work the CIA is already doing against a major competitor.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.