This comes amidst escalating tensions between the two nations.
The last face-to-face meeting between the two leaders took place in November 2022 at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. During this summit, Biden and Xi explored ways to enhance the relationship between the United States and China. The upcoming meeting's agenda, according to the White House, includes maintaining open lines of communication and discussing a variety of regional and global issues.
A U.S. official, speaking to CBS News, stated, "We're clear-eyed about this. We know efforts to shape or reform China over several decades have failed, but we expect China to be around and to be a major player on the world stage for the rest of our lifetimes."
White House aides, in conversation with CNN, expressed that the meeting is a positive development, given the heightened tensions between the United States and China. The primary objective of the meeting, as per U.S. officials, is to establish a "framework" between the two competitive nations and to "clear up misperceptions."
It is noteworthy that Xi was absent from the United Nations General Assembly in September, along with several other prominent world leaders from France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and India. During his speech at the assembly, Biden emphasized that he did not wish to contain China or any other countries. Instead, he expressed his commitment to "de-risking not decoupling" and "responsibly manage competition" with China.
Throughout the summer, several officials from the Biden administration visited China as tensions continued to rise. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Central Foreign Affairs Office Director Wang Yi, and Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing in June. This visit was an attempt to advocate for direct military-to-military communication in crises. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo visited China in August to meet with Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Hu Heping. The focus of their discussion was on how to boost mutual tourism.
"This is not the relationship of five or 10 years ago — we're not talking about a long list of outcomes or deliverables. The goals here really are about managing the competition, preventing the downside of risk of conflict and ensuring channels of communication are open," another U.S. official told CBS News, commenting on the upcoming meeting between Biden and Xi.