Amid Tensions With China, Biden to Discuss Competition During Virtual Summit With Xi

On Monday evening, President Joe Biden and China's Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit where Biden will look to discuss how to handle competition between the U.S. and China.

According to The Associated Press, Biden would like to emphasize that the two countries need to determine boundaries in deepening areas of conflict. White House officials expect no major announcements to come from the meeting and have low expectations for it.

"The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the PRC, as well as ways to work together where our interests align," Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said in a statement that announced the time of the summit and referred to the People's Republic of China. "Throughout, President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns."

The Biden-Xi virtual summit was agreed to be held by the end of the year when White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi met for talks in Zurich.

Biden proposed the virtual meeting when he mentioned he would like to see Xi again in a September phone call with the Chinese leader, the White House reported. The two leaders spent a significant amount of time with each other when they were vice presidents.

The virtual summit was offered as the best available substitute for Jinping and Biden to have a conversation about issues that have strained the U.S.-China relationship, as Xi hasn't left China during the COVID pandemic.

This will be the third engagement between the two leaders since February.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, Summit
This combination image shows U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, Nov. 6, 2021, and China's President Xi Jinping in Brasília, Brazil, Nov. 13, 2019. The White House says President Joe Biden is looking to discuss how to manage the competition between the U.S and China in a virtual summit Monday evening. Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres/AP Photo, File

"We hope the U.S. will work together with China to jointly strive to make the leaders' summit a success and bring China-U.S. ties back to the right track of sound and stable development," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Friday.

There has been no shortage of tension in the relationship in recent months as Biden has made clear he sees Beijing's actions on a number of fronts as concerning.

The president has criticized China for human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in northwest China, squelching pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong, and resisting global pressure to cooperate fully with investigations into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Tensions have also been exacerbated recently by the Chinese military's flying dozens of sorties near the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.

Biden, at the Group of 20 meeting in Rome and again at the U.N. climate gathering, criticized Xi for failing to show up to the summits, where world leaders discussed the way forward on the pandemic and steps to ease the impact of climate change.

"I think it's been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China ... not showing up, " Biden said in Glasgow. "The rest of the world is going to look to China and say, what value added have they provided?"

Both leaders took part in Friday's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) virtual meeting, where leaders discussed efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic and support the global economic recovery.

Xi Jinping, Joe Biden, Summit
President Joe Biden waits to speak about the recently passed $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at the Port of Baltimore on November 10, 2021 in Baltimore. On Monday evening, he will hold a virtual summit with China's Xi Jinping where he plans to discuss how to manage competitions between the U.S. and China. Drew Angerer/Getty Images