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The last meeting was a year ago: Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the G2022 summit in Bali in 20

Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will meet next Wednesday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in California. This was announced by high-ranking US government officials in Washington. It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders in a year.

Previously, there had been speculation for weeks about a possible meeting between Biden and Xi on the sidelines of the Apec summit in San Francisco. However, an official confirmation as well as information about the contents of the meeting were pending. The White House had confirmed Biden's trip to the summit at the end of October and hinted that a possible meeting between the two heads of state could take place. Washington was initially similarly tight-lipped about the content of the talks, saying they were talking about "strategic intentions."

The much-anticipated conversation between the two leaders could last for hours and involve teams of advisers from Beijing and Washington. Global issues such as the war between Israel and Hamas, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, relations between North Korea and Russia, Taiwan, human rights, artificial intelligence, and "fair" trade and economic relations will be addressed, the officials said. Nothing is being held back, everything is on the table," a senior Biden administration official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters reporters.

Biden and Xi last met in person for the first time in their capacity as heads of state just over a year ago on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali. The U.S. president's team has made a diplomatic lightning start to improve hostile relations. The relationship between China and the U.S., as well as between the two leaders, is clearly tense. As recently as June, Biden had equated Xi with a dictator, according to US media reports. Beijing reacted to this with indignation. In the summer, however, several U.S. ministers had visited China. At the end of October, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi travelled to Washington. The reciprocal visits were seen as preparation for a meeting between Biden and Xi.

China accuses the U.S. of trying to hinder its rise as a world and economic power. Washington, on the other hand, sees Beijing as an economic rival and a threat to the world order. At the center of the tensions is, among other things, the island state of Taiwan, which China considers its own territory. While the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan, it supports the country militarily and advocates maintaining the status quo. Add to this Washington's export bans on advanced microchips to China – the tensions are known as the "chip war."