Momentum is building for a summit between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Washington, D.C.
The sides are discussing a trip to Washington by China’s top economic policy aid, Vice Premier He Lifeng, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people briefed on the matter. He would be the most senior official to travel to the U.S. since Biden took office. There are also plans for Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Washington in October to prepare for a summit with Xi and Biden, the Journal reported.
Talk of a summit could be welcome news considering tensions between the nations have escalated since Biden took office. Biden and Xi last met in November in Bali, Indonesia, during a gathering of Group of 20 major economies.
China also facilitated the transfer this week of Army Pvt. Travis King from North Korean custody. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan raised King’s case in a meeting 10 days ago with Wang, the Journal reported.
These latest developments increase the likelihood that Xi will attend a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in San Francisco in November, the Journal reported. Beyond that, Beijing is seeking a separate high-profile summit with Biden, something both governments see as a potential boost to the months of tentative efforts to stabilize ties.
Deep-seated suspicion and entrenched differences on most issues make any talk of a summit tentative at best, the Journal reported. Disagreements could scuttle a summit or visits by other senior Chinese officials, and U.S. officials are concerned a government shutdown would further delay planning for the meetings or the summit.
China also is building on its relationship with Russia to counter the U.S. and its allies. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Xi in October in Beijing when China holds a high-level forum on Xi’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure program, aimed at expanding China’s influence across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The forum will be Oct. 17-18, the Journal reported.
“Both sides will continue taking actions they believe are justified and that the other could interpret as provocative,” said Ryan Hass, director of the China Center at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington and a former adviser on China and Asia under the Obama administration, told the Journal. “If these visits by senior Chinese officials materialize, the odds of a leader-level meeting will continue to rise.”
Michael Katz ✉
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and poltics.
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