Zurich, Oct. 7 (BNA): With tensions rising between world powers, President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual meeting before the end of the year, according to the White House.
The agreement in principle for the talks was revealed after White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Senior Chinese Foreign Policy Adviser Yang Jiechi met for six hours in Zurich.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the two sides were still working out what the virtual meeting would look like.
The presidential meeting was proposed after Biden, who spent a lot of time with Xi when they were vice presidents, said during their call last month that he would like to be able to see Xi again, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to comment publicly on talks between Sullivan and Yang spoke on condition of anonymity, according to the Associated Press.
Xi has not left China during the coronavirus pandemic, and he is not expected to personally attend the upcoming G20 summit in Rome and the United Nations climate conference in Scotland.
A White House statement on the Swiss meeting said Sullivan stressed Liang the need to maintain open lines of communication, while raising concerns about China’s recent military provocations against Taiwan, human rights abuses against ethnic minorities, and Beijing’s efforts to crack down on Hong Kong’s democracy advocates. Kong.
Sullivan explained that while the United States “will continue to invest in our national strength,” it seeks better engagement at a senior level to “ensure responsible competition,” the statement said.
US officials have expressed frustration that interactions with high-ranking Chinese counterparts, including Yang, in the early stages of Biden’s presidency have been less than constructive. But Wednesday’s talks were described as respectful, constructive and perhaps the most in-depth between the two sides since Biden took office in January, according to the administration official.
China’s Xinhua News Agency echoed the description, saying the two sides had a frank and in-depth exchange of views. “China attaches importance to the positive remarks made by US President Joe Biden recently on Sino-US relations, and China noted that the US side said that it … does not seek a new cold war,” Yang was quoted as saying.
Yang added, however, that China opposes defining the relationship as “competitive” and urged the US to stop using Taiwan, Hong Kong, human rights and other issues to interfere in what China calls its internal affairs.
The White House said the meeting was intended as a follow-up to a call last month between Biden and Xi in which Biden stressed the need to set clear standards in their competition.
However, relations between the United States and China remain in a state of tension, exacerbated recently by the Chinese military flying dozens of sorties near the autonomous island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Wednesday reiterated concerns that Beijing is undermining regional peace and stability with its “provocative” action. China sent 56 fighter jets to Taiwan on Monday alone.
“We strongly urge Beijing to stop its military, diplomatic, economic and coercion pressure against Taiwan,” said Blinken, who was in Paris for talks with French officials.
Early in Biden’s presidency, he vowed to pressure Beijing over its human rights record. His administration reiterated the US position, first issued late in the Trump administration, that China’s suppression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in the country’s northwest region of Xinjiang was a “genocide.”
In March, the United States, in coordination with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, imposed sanctions on senior Communist Party officials for their role in the arrest and mistreatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. At the G7 summit in June in England, Biden successfully lobbied fellow leaders to include specific language critical of China’s use of forced labor and other human rights abuses in the leaders’ joint statement.
Human rights advocates and Republican lawmakers in the United States have raised concerns that the administration may ease pressure on human rights as it seeks cooperation from Beijing on global efforts on climate change and in thwarting North Korea’s nuclear program.
The White House said last week that it had no position on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which the US Senate passed in July.
US Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and sponsor of the legislation, wrote in the Washington Examiner Wednesday that “the Biden administration is choosing to ignore the Chinese Communist Party’s egregious human rights abuses to make a climate deal.”
Psaki dismissed the criticism. She emphasized that Biden, unlike President Donald Trump, “has spoken out against human rights abuses, raised his concerns about human rights abuses directly with President Xi and we’ve done that at all levels.”
The United States indicated this week that it currently plans to comply with tariffs imposed on China during the Trump administration.
US Trade Representative Catherine Tay, in a speech in Washington this week, said she would begin reaching out to her Chinese counterparts to discuss Beijing’s failure to honor commitments made in the first phase of the US-China trade agreement signed in January 2020. Biden criticized Beijing . of “forced” trade practices, including the use of forced labor, that have resulted in an unfair playing field.
“We will use the full range of tools we have and develop new tools as needed to defend US economic interests from harmful policies and practices,” Tay said.