The US and China have reached an agreement “in principle” to hold a virtual summit between President Biden and President Xi before the end of the year, Axios reported on Wednesday, citing a senior Biden administration official.
The announcement came after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan held a six-hour meeting in Zurich with Yang Jiechi, one of China’s top diplomats. The White House said the talks followed up on a phone call between Xi and Biden that took place on September 9th.
The last time Sullivan met with Jiechi was back in March during contentious meetings in Alaska. The Alaska talks opened with Secretary of State Antony Blinken accusing China of threatening the so-called “rules-based order,” setting a hostile tone.
The White House said that the dialogue with Beijing is part of the administration’s effort to “responsibly manage the competition” between the US and China. The White House said Sullivan raised issues the two countries could cooperate on and areas where the US has “concerns,” such as Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and Taiwan.
While the US is seeking dialogue, it’s clear Washington has no intention of changing its hostile stance towards Beijing. Biden’s Trade Representative Katherine Tai is expected to meet with Chinese officials this week and signaled in a speech on Monday that the US will continue the hardline trade policies of the Trump administration, including tariffs.