Biden and Xi to finally meet before a heated G20 summit

A combination of file photos of US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: Reuters)

On Monday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping will arrive on the Indonesian island of Bali for a long-awaited meeting with US President Joe Biden, preceding a Group of 20 (G20) summit that is expected to be laced with tension over Russia's war in Ukraine.

The two leaders are scheduled to address Taiwan, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and North Korea's nuclear ambitions, many of the same themes that hover over the G20, which begins on Tuesday without Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will represent the Russian president at the G20 summit - the first since Russia invaded Ukraine in February - after the Kremlin stated that Vladimir Putin was too busy to attend.

On the day of his meeting with Xi, Vice President Biden assured Asian leaders in Cambodia that communication channels between the United States and China would remain open to prevent conflict, with tense discussions almost expected in the days ahead.

During his address to the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, Vice President Biden emphasized the significance of peace in the Taiwan Strait, stating that the United States would "compete strongly" with Beijing while "ensuring competition does not veer into conflict." He arrived in Bali Sunday evening.

Relations between the superpowers are at their lowest point in decades, as tensions have increased over a variety of problems in recent years, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, the South China Sea, coercive trade tactics, and US limitations on Chinese technology.

After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August visit to Taiwan, the self-governed democratic island Beijing claims as its own, tensions increased. China was angered by Taiwan's visit and consequently conducted military exercises near Taiwan.

Biden stated in September that U.S. soldiers would defend Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion, his most unequivocal remark on the matter to date, provoking Beijing's ire once again.

Since Biden became president in January 2021, he and Xi have engaged in five phone or video meetings. They last met in person during the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president.

According to the White House, Monday's meeting is unlikely to result in a unified statement, but it might help stabilize the relationship.

On Tuesday, both leaders will attend the opening of the G20 conference in Bali.

Lavrov stated on Sunday that the West was "militarizing" Southeast Asia to control Russian and Chinese interests, laying the groundwork for more significant conflict with Western leaders at the G20.

The British prime minister is set to meet Lavrov at the summit, according to a statement from Downing Street. He is also set to meet with Vice President Biden.

More than 80 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) and 60 percent of the world's population are accounted for by the G20 bloc, which consists of countries ranging from Brazil to India and Germany.

In addition to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is scheduled to address a parallel B20 business event on Monday, preceding the G20 summit. The billionaire Elon Musk is anticipated to virtually attend one of the meetings.

Publish : 2022-11-14 12:06:00

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