The presidents of the United States and China, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, will stage a long-awaited meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali this Monday on the margins of the G-20 summit, which comes after months of secret negotiations, and that began to take shape in a call between the two leaders in July, US officials revealed on Monday.
The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. local time (10:30 a.m. Spanish peninsular time) in a hotel in Bali, and the two leaders, accompanied by their advisors, will have simultaneous translation, US officials detailed Monday in a telephone press conference.
Biden and Xi they talked in July for hours, amid the tension over the imminent visit to Taiwan of the president of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and at that time both highlighted the “value” that would have a face to face meeting, as explained then by the White House. It was at this point that the two leaders asked their teams to start preparing for the meeting.
What followed the call between Biden and Xi were “Dozens of hours of discreet diplomacy behind the scenes” and months of negotiations in which the US and Chinese teams tried to reach agreements on the format of the meeting and the topics to be addressed, the officials said.
“Each of the issues associated with this appointment, from foreign policy issues to logistics, have been carefully evaluated, negotiated and agreed upon by both parties”, emphasized one of the sources.
One of the key moments that accelerated the process It was the meeting that the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had in September in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
That face to face served to create the idea that, after a contentious period between the two powers, it was necessary and “natural” for the two leaders to converse, especially considering that both were to meet at the G-20 in Bali, the officials detailed.
Those sources explained that the negotiations brought to the surface many of the differences between the two powers, but described the process as “serious, sustained and professional”, example of the “tradition” of US-China diplomacy. They also considered that these exchanges, in themselves, already have a very important value for the bilateral relationship.
In fact, Biden comes to the meeting with the firm objective of establishing channels of communication with Xi to avoid misunderstandings and establish “clear traffic rules” to prevent competition between Beijing and Washington from escalating into conflict, according to the officials.
As a result of the negotiations, it has been agreed that the two leaders will meet face to face accompanied by “a small” group of advisers. The exchange will have simultaneous translation and It will last about two hours. according to the White House.
On the table will be tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea, as well as North Korean missiles and trade tensions, especially the tariffs that former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) imposed on Chinese imports and that Biden has maintained.
will be the first meeting in person between Biden and Xi since the American arrived at the White House in January 2021, although both have had five phone calls in the last 20 months.
The last time they saw each other in person was at January 2017, when both coincided at the World Economic Forum in Davos and Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president (2009-2017).