The upcoming in-person meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to be a “forum for intense diplomacy” to help reduce tensions between the two nations, US officials have said. Biden confirmed the meeting during a speech in March, and a spokesperson for Secretary of State Antony Blinken said recently that it will take place in the “coming weeks.”
The highly anticipated talks come at a time of heightened tensions between the US and China. Relationships have frayed in the past few years due to disagreements about China’s security measures in the South China Sea, its handling of protests in Hong Kong, and its treatment of Uighur Muslims in far western Xinjiang province.
Biden and Xi are expected to address a number of key issues during their meeting, ranging from trade and investment to technology and human rights. Despite the intense geopolitical issues that will be discussed, Blinken said that the two leaders could use the opportunity to try to reset their relationship.
In a statement, the State Department said the US is seeking “a relationship with China that is grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty and autonomy.” Officials have said that the US will be taking an “engage but wary” stance toward China, and Biden has pledged to “toughly and directly” confront Beijing on issues of concern.
Whether Biden and Xi are able to make any progress toward reducing the tensions between their two countries remains to be seen, but it could lay the groundwork for future diplomatic efforts. It could also be a first step toward a more comprehensive and long-term approach to the US-China relationship.