Monday, January 30, 2023

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Joe Biden expected to meet Xi Jinping in person this November

New Delhi: According to people familiar with the preparations, Chinese officials are arranging for Xi Jinping to visit Southeast Asia and have a face-to-face meeting with President Biden in November. This would be the Chinese leader’s first international trip in close to three years and his first encounter with Mr. Biden since the American president’s inauguration.

The trip preparations suggest that Mr. Xi, 69, is optimistic about his prospects at the twice-decade congress scheduled for this fall, where he is anticipated to defy precedent and seek a third term as Communist Party leader.

Meeting is possible in November

The Chinese leader is anticipated to wrap up the party congress first, according to officials involved in the planning, and then go on to likely attend the Group of 20 summit on Bali, Indonesia, from November 15 to 16.

Mr. Xi is then anticipated to proceed to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, where he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit two days later. The people said that one of the preparations, which are still in the early stages and subject to change, entails getting ready for a potential encounter between Mr. Xi and Mr. Biden outside of one of the two summits.

China hints at the possible meeting

“China supports Indonesia and Thailand as the hosts of the two conferences, and is willing to work with all parties to promote the conference to achieve positive results,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a response to The Wall Street Journal’s question on Mr. Xi’s potential trip.

White House did not respond

The White House chose not to respond. The two leaders discussed holding a face-to-face meeting during their most recent phone contact, according to a White House official, and decided to have their staff follow up to iron out the details. The representative baulked at revealing the time or place.

Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong

Just days before Chinese health authorities openly confirmed the severity of the Covid-19 epidemic in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, Mr. Xi last travelled outside of China in January 2020 while on a state visit to Myanmar. He paid a quick visit to Hong Kong this year to mark the 25th anniversary of the territory’s restoration to Chinese rule on July 1.

Beijing was furiated with Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

At a time when there are growing concerns throughout the world about Beijing’s deteriorating relations with Washington, Mr. Xi’s absence on the international arena has hindered China’s communications with other nations, almost eliminating prospects for top-level in-person engagements. An angry Chinese response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent trip to Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims is a part of China, has alarmed locals who fear that the two countries may engage in open hostilities.

Xi Jinping’s visit aimed at interest in South-East Asia

The people added that if the trip does take place, Mr. Xi is anticipated to pay state visits to other regional nations and personally meet with national leaders as part of a larger attempt to uphold relations and rebuild personal contacts with them. They also said that Mr. Xi’s trip would show China’s interest in Southeast Asia, where the United States has sought to counter China’s influence.

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