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Biden and Xi Meet Face-to-Face as Superpower Relations Mired in Tensions

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2021. REUTERS
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 15, 2021. REUTERS

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping in person on Monday for the first time since taking office, with U.S. concerns over Taiwan, Russia’s war in Ukraine and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions on top of his agenda.

The long-awaited in-person meeting comes as relations between the superpowers have sunk to their lowest in decades. The two will meet on the Indonesian island of Bali ahead of the annual Group of 20 (G20) summit gathering leaders of the world’s major developed and emerging economies.

Biden goes into the meeting on the back of a major domestic victory with Democrats clinching control of the Senate, a development acknowledged by global leaders, while Xi secured an unprecedented third term in office last month.

“I know I’m coming in stronger but I don’t need that. I know Xi Jinping, I spent more time with him than any other world leader.” Biden told reporters in Cambodia on Sunday after the Senate results. “There’s never any miscalculation about … where each of us stands.”

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