China’s Xi Jinping arrives in US ahead of summit with Joe Biden | Politics News

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in the United States for his first visit in six years, after US President Joe Biden said his goal in their bilateral talks was the t -this week to restore normal communications with Beijing, including military-to-military contacts.

Xi is expected to meet with Biden near San Francisco on Wednesday morning in the US, before going to the annual conference of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group with 21 members.

The summit is their first face-to-face meeting in a year and follows months of high-level meetings to prepare the ground, after tensions between the two countries spiraled over issues from trade to human rights. and the pandemic.

Speaking before his departure, Biden said his goal was simply to improve the bilateral relationship.

“We are not trying to separate from China. What we’re trying to do is change the relationship for the better,” Biden told reporters at the White House before heading to San Francisco.

When asked what he hoped to achieve at the meeting, he said he wanted to “get back on a normal course of correspondence; being able to pick up the phone and talk to each other in an emergency; able to make our decision [militaries] you still have a bond with each other.”

Xi waved from the door of his Air China plane before walking downstairs to meet US officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, who was wait on the tarmac.

He is on his first visit to the US since 2017 when he met the then president Donald Trump.

Supporters of Xi Jinping wave Chinese and US flags outside his hotel.
Supporters of Chinese President Xi Jinping gathered outside the hotel where the Chinese delegation is staying [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

China, which regularly talks about “red lines” on issues such as the self-governing island of Taiwan, which it claims is its own and its extensive claims in the South China Sea, has to be more careful about his expectations for the summit.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry referred to only “in-depth communication” and “key issues of world peace” when asked about the meeting this week.

Nevertheless, analysts said the very fact that the talks were taking place was important.

“The importance of the much-anticipated meeting between President Biden and President Xi in San Francisco cannot be overemphasized, no matter how thin the results,” wrote Alicia Garcia Herrero of investment banking group Natixis in a survey before the summit.

Complaints are expected

A large crowd gathered on Xi’s motorcade route to the luxury hotel where the Chinese delegation is staying.

Some held signs that read “End CCP,” the initials of the Chinese Communist Party. Another sign read “Warm Welcome to President Xi Jinping” and was stuck to concrete pillars.

Outside the hotel, hundreds of Beijing supporters unfurled US and Chinese flags as they waited and played the patriotic song Ode to the Motherland through loudspeakers.

Scuffles broke out with the few anti-Xi protesters there, but the police quickly intervened to restore calm.

Pro-China and anti-China demonstrators also gathered near the Moscone Center, the site of many APEC meetings. Larger protests, involving rights groups critical of Xi’s policies in Tibet, Hong Kong and against Muslim Uyghurs, are expected near the summit center on Wednesday.

A large banner outside the APEC center reads 'Dictator Xi Jinping, your time is up!  Free Tibet.  It is held by several Tibetan students
Tibetan student activists demonstrated against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s leadership and rights agenda [Laure Andrillon/AFP]

Xi and Biden are expected to meet at the Filoli Estate, a country house museum about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of San Francisco, the Associated Press news agency reported, citing three senior US administration officials who asked that responsibility The center has not yet been confirmed by the White House and the Chinese government.

While economic issues are likely to be high on the meeting’s agenda, including measures to curb the production of the powerful synthetic opioid drug fentanyl, geopolitical tensions are likely to increase in the discussions.

White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Biden and Xi would discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza as well as Russia’s full-scale attack on the Ukraine.

While Washington has tried to reset ties with China, it has also made it clear that this will not be at the expense of key US concerns.

Biden “isn’t going to be afraid — to confront where it’s necessary to confront on issues where we don’t see eye to eye with President Xi and the PRC,” Kirby said, using the initials for the People’s Republic of China.

President Joe Biden arrives at the airport in San Francisco, He is near the bottom of the plane's stairs and is greeted by two guards on each side
President Joe Biden arrives at San Francisco International Airport for the APEC summit, Tuesday, November 14, 2023 [Evan Vucci/AP]

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told APEC ministers that the US believed in “an area where economies are free to choose their own path… where goods, ideas, people flow legally and freely free”.

Blinken did not mention China by name, but his language echoed US rhetoric in recent years in which Washington has accused China of bullying smaller countries in the Asia Pacific and trying to undermine what the US and its allies call the “rules-based” international order. .

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