President Joe Biden on Friday said a sit-down with Chinese leader Xi Jinping could be in the cards when the US hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in San Francisco next month.
Mr Biden, who addressed reporters from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in the wake of yet another positive jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said “no such meeting” has been arranged at this time.
“But it is a possibility,” he added.
Top Biden administration officials have been communicating with their counterparts in Beijing for months in an effort to arrange a bilateral meeting between Mr Biden and Mr Xi at next month’s gathering, which is scheduled to run from 11 November to 17 November.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that plans for the leaders to meet at the APEC event were “pretty firm”.
The news of a possible sit-down between the heads of state representing the world’s two largest economies comes amid continued tensions between Washington and Beijing over China’s military buildup and the status of Taiwan.
Military to military communications between the two countries have been stopped since August 2022, when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island, which Beijing claims as sovereign territory despite its’ de facto independence.
Mr Biden and Mr Xi last met in 2022 during the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali, Indonesia. But relations between the two countries have remained strained since February when a Chinese-made espionage balloon transited US airspace. The balloon was shot down by a US fighter off the coast of South Carolina.
In recent months, a succession of Biden administration officials have trekked to Beijing in an effort to smooth over the rift caused by the balloon incident.
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