Biden-Xi Bilateral Highlights: Leaders’ First Face-to-Face Sit-Down In Over A Year
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping held their first face-to-face meeting in more than a year on Wednesday. The two leaders held the discussions at a private location in California. They smiled and shook hands after the US president walked out to greet his Chinese counterpart.
Noting their personal history, Biden highlighted their “straightforward and frank” talks in the past. “We haven’t always agreed, which was not a surprise to anyone, but our meetings have always been candid, straightforward and useful,” he added.
Speaking in Mandarin, Xi noted: “For two large countries like China and United States, turning our back on each other is not an option,” according to a translation. The high-level discussions came on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit held this week.
“President Xi, Do You Trust Biden?”
ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Selina Wang asked Xi several times in Mandarin: “President Xi, do you trust Biden?” The Chinese president, who does not normally engage with the press, looked at her and smiled slightly, but did not respond.
According to a senior Biden administration official, fentanyl – an ultra-deadly synthetic opioid that has become pervasive in parts of the US – climate change, artificial intelligence, the Middle East and Taiwan were among the topics discussed in the four-hour meeting.
On fentanyl, Biden called it “one of the worst drug problems the United States has ever faced,” the official noted, adding a plan has been drafted between the two sides to curb Chinese companies who produce “precursors” to fentanyl and to restrict access to necessary supplies.
Chinese Interference In Taiwan’s Election
At the top of his remarks, the US president underscored agreements on dealing with the synthetic opioid and resuming military contact. Going forward, Biden and Xi will “preserve and pursue high-level diplomacy … in both directions,” he noted.
Biden also said he does not expect any Chinese interference in the upcoming presidential election of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own. He also called on China not to supply weapons to Moscow to aid in its brutal war in Ukraine, and to press Pyongyang not to do so.
US officials had said, other items on the agenda included Biden being expected to press Beijing to use its leverage with Iran to persuade the Middle Eastern country to stop its proxies from attacking US forces in the region and escalating the conflict between Israel and Hamas.