The White House announced Thursday that President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia this Monday.
The talks will mark the first in-person meeting between the two leaders since President Biden came into office in January 2021. They are expected to discuss multiple issues, including Ukraine and the simmering tensions between the US and China over Taiwan.
A senior US official said that the meeting was about better understanding each other, but major differences aren’t expected to be resolved. “One of the main objectives is really about deepening their understanding of one another’s priorities and intentions and, where possible, with the goal of reducing misunderstandings and misperceptions,” the official said, according to The South China Morning Post.
“I don’t in any way think that the two leaders are going to sit down and be able to solve all their differences or problems. But I do think that some of these steps could be important along the way,” the official added.
The meeting comes as US-China relations are at their lowest point in decades. Biden has continued the trade war started by his predecessor and has significantly ramped up the economic pressure on Beijing with sanctions and other measures targeting China’s chip industry.
Biden is also taking steps to increase support for Taiwan and has said several times now that he would intervene if China attacked the island, breaking from the decades-old policy of strategic ambiguity on the issue.
China launched its largest-ever military drills around Taiwan in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visiting the island and has kept up some of the military pressure as Western officials continue to make the trip. Xi recently reaffirmed that China seeks “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan but won’t rule out the use of force.