US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday evening and the two leaders will confront tensions.
Commenting on whether Monday’s meeting between the two leaders will concern over the border tensions with India, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki while responding to ANI said the US leader would “certainly discuss security-related issues.”
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 criticised China for human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in northwest China, maritime issues, Taiwan, South China sea.
Speaking over it, Jen Psaki said: “Joe Biden will not hold back concerns the US has with China.”
Addressing a press briefing on Friday (local time), Psaki said that one of the purposes of this engagement is to also discuss areas where “there are strong concerns and disagreement”.
The meeting will be the third engagement between the two leaders since February. It comes after the US and China this week pledged at UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland to increase their cooperation and speed up action to rein in climate-damaging emissions.
“We are engaged first of all with members of Congress and on technical advisory providing technical assistance on legislation that’s currently working its way through Congress.
But in addition to that, we have also taken measures on our own including visa restrictions, global Magnitsky and financial sanctions, export controls, import restrictions, the release of a business advisory and rallying the G7 to commit to take action to ensure all global supply chains are free from the use of forced labour,” she said.
Psaki said that there is likely to be no major resolutions as a result of the call. “I wouldn’t set the expectation … that this is intended to have major deliverables or outcomes,” Psaki said.
Biden and Xi have a history of face-to-face dealings stretching back more than a decade to when the two served as their respective countries’ vice-presidents. Pressed on Friday whether the two presidents’ personal relationship would impact Biden’s ability to press China to enact changes it has previously been unwilling to make, Psaki said that their history would instead allow Biden “to be quite candid”.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi had come to an agreement on holding the Biden-Xi virtual summit by year’s end when they met last month for talks in Zurich but the two sides had not settled on a date.
The virtual meeting was proposed after Biden mentioned during a September phone call with the Chinese leader that he would like to be able to see Xi again, according to the White House.