President Biden met Friday with China’s top diplomat at the White House ahead of a potential meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Biden met with Wang Yi, the foreign minister and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission, and the president “emphasized that both the United States and China need to manage competition in the relationship responsibly and maintain open lines of communication,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting.
“He underscored that the United States and China must work together to address global challenges,” the White House said.
Biden also expressed his condolences for the death of Li Keqiang, the former premier of China, who died Friday.
Wang was in Washington on Friday for meetings with multiple Biden administration officials, but a meeting with Biden had not been previously confirmed or listed on the president’s public schedule.
Wang also met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and with national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
The meeting comes amid tense relations between the United States and China, as Biden and Xi have not met face-to-face in roughly one year.
Officials have been working to pave the way for a meeting between Biden and Xi at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco next month, with Wang’s visit viewed as a key step in that process.
The Biden administration has also taken steps to shore up its alliances in the Indo-Pacific and push for greater investments from the World Bank and other nations in order to offset China’s influence in developing countries.
Biden has often said he is seeking competition, not conflict, with Beijing, a message he reiterated during a United Nations gathering in September.
Source: The Hill