Reports: Biden and China’s Xi to Hold Virtual Summit Next Week

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual summit next week, according to multiple news outlets, as tensions between the nuclear powers persist.

The virtual meeting was agreed to in principle in October during talks in Zurich between U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s most senior diplomat, Yang Jiechi.

U.S. officials said the tentative agreement to hold the summit was part of an effort to prevent the countries from spiraling toward conflict over trade, military activities and other issues.

The White House declined Thursday to comment on the meeting, Reuters reported.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday a deal “in principle” had been reached for a virtual summit “before the end of the year.”

Special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday the leaders would meet soon in a virtual summit and that his team is planning for it, according to CNN. 

During a regular media briefing in Beijing Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “The two sides are maintaining close communication regarding the specific arrangements about the heads of states meeting,” according to Bloomberg, which first reported about the possible summit on Tuesday.

Bloomberg, citing two people familiar with the issue, reported that the date of the summit was still being negotiated.

Politico reported on Wednesday that the summit had been tentatively scheduled for November 15, citing a U.S. official and a “non-administration source.”

The two leaders last spoke on September 9 and addressed economic issues, climate change and COVID-19, according to a senior U.S. official. Earlier this week, the countries announced a framework agreement at the U.N. climate conference in Scotland aimed at increasing cooperation to combat climate change.

As news of a virtual summit circulated, China’s ruling Communist Party approved a rare resolution Thursday raising Xi’s status in its history. The move is perceived by many political observers as a consolidation of his authority and the likelihood of securing an unprecedented third leadership term in 2022.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters. 

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