As Biden-Xi Jinping meet approaches, US prez says ‘not trying to decouple from China’

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday (November 14) appeared to sound positive ahead of his highly anticipated meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and said that the US didn’t want to distance itself from China but wanted an improved relationship. The two leaders are going to meet each other on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit in San Francisco.

“We’re not trying to decouple from China. What we’re trying to do is change the relationship for the better,” said Biden before leaving for San Francisco. He was speaking with reporters at the White House.

About what he hoped to achieve at the meeting, Biden said he wanted “to get back on a normal course of corresponding; being able to pick up the phone and talk to one another if there’s a crisis; being able to make sure our military still have contact with one another.”

However, Biden also had a warning.

“I’m not going to continue to sustain the support for positions where if we want to invest in China, we have to turn over all our trade secrets,” he said underlining USA’s discomfort with China’s business practices.

The relations between the US and China are currently strained over a number of bilateral issues and the countries’ positions on a number of global crises. The points of contention range from the Taiwan issue, the issue of semiconductors, the Ukraine war and more.

There was a positive momentum between the two countries after November 2022 talks between Biden and Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia. But the mood soured after the US shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon. This delayed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned Beijing visit.

Blinken eventually made a trip to Beijing in June. An intense high-level diplomacy indicated a willingness on both sides to improve relations.

China’s foreign ministry however, has remained vague about the upcoming Xi-Biden visit. When asked what it expected from the summit, the ministry said “in-depth communication” and “major issues concerning world peace.”

The ministry was quoted by Reuters.

China is tough on its stance that it will not budge over the Taiwan issue, but both countries have made progress in areas like trade and economic relations as well as climate talks.

“If in fact the Chinese people, who are in trouble right now economically, if the average homeowner, if the average citizen in China, was able to have a decent paying job — that benefits them, and benefits all of us,” Biden said Tuesday.

In addition to his meeting with Biden, Xi will have dinner with US business leaders and seek to streghten economic ties.

(With inputs from agencies)

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