Chinese President arrives in America; Biden-Xi meeting will be held at an undisclosed location

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives at San Francisco International Airport to attend the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in San Francisco, California, US on November 14, 2023.  - Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives at San Francisco International Airport to attend the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in San Francisco, California, US on November 14, 2023. – Reuters
  • Xi’s summit with Biden will be the first face-to-face meeting in a year.
  • US officials see it as an opportunity to reduce friction between the rivals.
  • Biden and Xi will also talk about the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

San Francisco: Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in the US on his first visit to the country in six years, during which he will hold a high-level meeting with Joe Biden at an undisclosed location in the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday morning.

After the Biden meeting, Xi will attend the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Xi’s summit with Biden will be the first face-to-face meeting between US and Chinese leaders in a year and US officials touted it as an opportunity to reduce friction in what is seen as the world’s most dangerous rivalry. Is.

Xi waved from the stairs of his Air China plane upon arrival and walked down to meet US officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns.

He then boarded his Chinese Hongqi, or “Red Flag,” limousine and departed the airport for San Francisco, where demonstrations are expected both for and against his visit.

Less than two hours earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed ministers of the 21-member APEC and emphasized that the US “believes in a region where economies are free to choose their own path… Where goods, ideas, people flow legitimately and freely.”

Blinken did not name China, but his language echoed US rhetoric in recent years in which Washington has accused China of bullying smaller countries in the Indo-Pacific and trying to undermine the “rules-based” order maintained by the US and its allies. Is accused of doing. ,

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who opened the APEC ministerial session with Blinken, said the San Francisco meeting came at a time of “great uncertainty and challenges” for the region. They noted rising geopolitical tensions, fragile supply chains and the worsening climate crisis.

Earlier, Biden had said he aimed to improve ties with China after a period of strained ties and would seek to resume normal communications, including military-to-military contacts, between the two superpowers.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Biden and Xi would also talk about the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza as well as US efforts to support Ukraine in the fight against Russian forces.

Economic issues will be at the top of the agenda.

Biden said that America does not want to separate from China, but wants to change economic relations for the better. His administration has pushed to “de-risk” some critical U.S. supply chains from China as the two countries’ economic and military competition increases.

Xi, who is trying to lure foreign investment during APEC to counter his country’s recent struggles, is expected to dine with top US trade officials on Wednesday.

For American businesses, it will be a chance to hear directly from China’s leader as they look for ways to deal with that country’s economic slowdown and the uncertainty caused by expanding Chinese security regulations.

Concern about showdown

Biden has been careful to assure countries in the region, including China, that the US does not seek complete economic isolation, a notion that has raised concerns among Washington’s partners and allies of a superpower that would upend the global economy.

China severed military-to-military contacts with the US in August 2022 after then-House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited democratically ruled but Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

The top goal of America is to restore contact to avoid miscalculation between the two armies.

Washington also hopes for greater cooperation from Beijing in combating the production of the powerful synthetic opioid drug fentanyl, which has become a scourge in the United States and especially San Francisco.

Sino-US relations deteriorated after Biden ordered the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States in February.

Top Biden administration officials have since visited Beijing and met with their counterparts in an effort to rebuild communication and trust.

Ahead of Xi’s arrival in the US, hundreds of pro-China protesters carrying Chinese flags gathered outside the Chinese delegation’s hotel.

Large protests, including from rights groups criticizing Xi’s policies toward Tibet, Hong Kong and Muslim Uighurs, are expected near the summit site on Wednesday.

As Biden arrived in San Francisco, shortly before Xi landed, protesters greeted the US president’s motorcade from the airport. Some waved Chinese flags and held banners calling for “compassionate” and “affectionate” US-China relations. Others held signs condemning the Chinese Communist Party.

Earlier on Tuesday, a small plane circled over the APEC summit site in downtown San Francisco with a banner behind it that read, “End CCP Free China Free Hong Kong Free Tibet Free Uighurs, ” Referring to China’s behavior toward the Uighurs, what the Biden administration says. “Massacre”.

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