President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday held his first face-to-face meeting with President Xi Jinping of China since Mr. Biden was inaugurated last year.
“I’m really glad to be able to see you again in person,” PRESIDENT Biden told Xi before their bilateral meeting in Bali, Indonesia, where the G20 meeting will be kicking off on Tuesday. “We spent a lot of time together and — back in the days when we were both vice presidents, and it’s just great to see you,”
President Xi responded, “Mr. President, it’s good to see you.The last time we met was in 2017, during the World Economic Forum in Davos. That was already more than five years ago.”
The last time Biden and Xi met face-to-face was in Davos in 2017 when he was Vice President. Since Biden came into office last year, both leaders have had five phone or video calls. The last American leader Xi met in person was former President Donald J. Trump in 2019, the year before COVID-19 hit.
The White House said ahead of their meeting that both leaders will discuss “efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the PRC, responsibly manage competition, and work together where our interests align, especially on transnational challenges that affect the international community.”
The two Leaders will also discuss a range of regional and global issues, added the White House.
China is now a rising power projected to overtake the United States economically and has been expanding its influence across the world, including in Africa.
Not many decades ago, the Chinese were laughed at in the United States, with signs such as ‘dogs and Chinese not allowed’ into some rooms.
The United States now sees China as its biggest competitor and threat, a nuclear power with a strong economy.
But there are challenges spanning from Taiwan to Hong Kong and the South East Asia in general. Many in the United States also expect President Biden to raise the issue of the origin of COVID-19 which originated from China and has killed more than one million Americans between 2020 and 2022.
|READ Remarks by President Biden and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China Before Bilateral Meeting
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, President Xi, it’s — I’m really glad to be able to see you again in person. We spent a lot of time together and — back in the days when we were both vice presidents, and it’s just great to see you.
And you and I have had a number of candid and useful conversations over the years and since I became President as well. You were kind enough to call me to congratulate me, and I congratulate you as well. And I believe there’s little substitute, though, for — to face-to-face discussions.
And as you know, I’m committed to keeping the lines of communications open between you and me personally but our governments across the board, because our two countries are — have so much that we have an opportunity to deal with.
As the leaders of our two nations, we share a responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever near conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation.
And I believe this is critical for the sake of our two countries and the international community. This — this was a key to the theme of the COP27 meeting, where I spoke on Friday. And we’ll be discussing a lot of these challenges together, I hope, in the next couple hours.
And the world expects, I believe, China and the United States to play key roles in addressing global challenges, from climate changes, to food insecurity, and to — for us to be able to work together.
The United States stands ready to do just that — work with you — if that’s what you desire.
So, President Xi, I look forward to our continuing and ongoing open and honest dialogue we’ve always had. And I thank you for the opportunity.
PRESIDENT XI: (As interpreted.) Mr. President, it’s good to see you. The last time we met was in 2017, during the World Economic Forum in Davos. That was already more than five years ago.
Since you assumed the presidency, we have maintained communication via video conferences, phone calls, and letters. But none of them can really substitute for face-to-face exchanges. And today, we finally have this face-to-face meeting.
From the initial contact and the establishment of diplomatic relations to today, China and the United States have gone through 50-plus eventful years. We have gained experience, and we’ve also learned lessons.
History is the best textbook, so we should take history as a mirror and let it guide the future.
Currently, the China-U.S. relationship is in such a situation that we all care a lot about it, because this is not the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples and it is not what the international community expects us.
As leaders of the two major countries, we need to chart the right course for the China-U.S. relationship. We need to find the right direction for the bilateral relationship going forward and elevate the relationship.
A statesman should think about and know where to lead his country. He should also think about and know how to get along with other countries and the wider world.
Well, in this time and age, great changes are unfolding in ways like never before. Humanity are confronted with unprecedented challenges. The world has come to a crossroads. Where to go from here — this is a question that is not only on our mind but also on the mind of all countries.
The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship. And for our meeting, it has attracted the world’s attention.
So, we need to work with all countries to bring more hope to world peace, greater confidence in global stability, and stronger impetus to common development.
In our meeting today, I’m ready to have a candid — as we always did — have a candid and in-depth exchange of views with you on issues of strategic importance in China-U.S. relations and on major global and regional issues.
I look forward to working with you, Mr. President, to bring China-U.S. relations back to the track of healthy and stable growth to the benefit of our two countries and the world as a whole.
5:47 P.M. WITA