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Biden, Xi meeting becomes more likely, sources say

President Joe Biden, right, and China's President Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Nov. 14, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

The United States and China are moving closer to setting up a meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at next month’s APEC summit, according to people familiar with the matter, though officials in Beijing haven’t yet signed off.

Advance teams for both countries have been scouting possible meeting sites in San Francisco before a likely encounter, according to people familiar with the matter. But Xi, who skipped last month’s Group of 20 summit in India and whose government has expressed frustration with recent comments by the American president, has not yet committed to the meeting.

A U.S. official described the meeting as pretty certain to the Washington Post on Thursday, but the White House’s National Security Council downplayed that characterization.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council said Thursday evening that while Biden looks forward to a meeting, nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

A summit between the two leaders would be be the first time they have spoken since they met during the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia last November and follows months of deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing.

Under normal circumstances, a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of a major gathering like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit would be routine — even obligatory. The fact that China hasn’t committed to it even now underscores the fragility of the efforts to ease tension.

If it occurs, a Xi-Biden get together would unfold as the U.S. faces the possibility of a government shutdown and as Xi’s government contends with economic turmoil and investigations of corruption in China’s military.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi is expected to travel to Washington this month to further lay the groundwork for a potential leaders’ get-together, people familiar with the matter said.

The Biden administration is also set to announce updated curbs for semiconductors, a move that is likely to anger the Chinese ahead of a face-to-face gathering in November.


© 2023 Bloomberg L.P

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