President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened their high-stakes summit Wednesday afternoon, stating that their differences should not be an option for any conflicts between the two nations. The meeting, which is billed as the U.S.-PRC Leaders Summit, is not an official part of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). While the meeting between Xi and Biden is not part of the summit, it is seen as vital for both leaders amid the Israel-Hamas war.
At the palatial Filoli mansion in California, Biden and Xi reflected on their first meeting 12 years ago, when they were both vice presidents. Biden called their meetings as “candid, straightforward and useful…’ adding, ‘I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication.”
Xi said the China-U.S. relationship is “the most important bilateral relationship in the world” and should be nurtured in a way that benefits everyone. Speaking via a translator, Xi said: “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. Conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequence for both sides.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Biden will focus on three things during his sideline summit with Xi: “One, not only improve and increase American investment in the region, but the region’s investment in the United States; number two, lifting up and looking towards a vision for better international worker standards, cleaner environments, safe environments, collective bargaining, a chance for international workers to be able to compete on a level playing field; and number three, building a more inclusive economy across the region.”
The two leaders last met one year ago at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia; Wednesday’s meeting marks Xi’s first visit to the United States since 2017. Jean-Pierre said in a statement: “Building on their last meeting in November 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, the leaders will also discuss how the United States and the PRC can continue to responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests align, particularly on transnational challenges that affect the international community.”
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