Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping head into their big meeting at a country estate on Wednesday hoping to stabilize U.S.-China relations after a period of tumult, but the U.S. president also is prepared to confront his counterpart on difficult issues such as trade, Beijing’s burgeoning relationship with Iran and human rights concerns.
The two leaders, who will meet on the sidelines of a summit of Asian-Pacific leaders, last spoke a year ago. Since then, already fraught ties between the two nations have been further strained by the U.S. downing of a Chinese spy balloon that had traversed the continental U.S. and over differences on the self-ruled island of Taiwan, China’s hacking of a Biden official’s emails and other incidents.
The outcome of the talks between two leaders who have known each other for decades could have far-reaching implications for an anxious world that is grappling with global economic cross currents from the pandemic, wars in the Middle East and Europe, upcoming elections in Taiwan and more.
The two presidents are in California for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, but they will be meeting one-on-one at Filoli Estate, a country house and museum about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of San Francisco, according to three senior administration officials. The officials requested anonymity to discuss the location, which had not yet been confirmed by the White House or the Chinese government due to tight security.