The Korea Herald


Biden, Xi to hold summit next week on bilateral ties, N. Korea, Taiwan, Middle East: officials

By Yonhap

Published : Nov. 10, 2023 - 22:48

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This Associated Press file photo, taken Nov. 14, 2022, shows US President Joe Biden (right) standing with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia. (Yonhap) This Associated Press file photo, taken Nov. 14, 2022, shows US President Joe Biden (right) standing with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia. (Yonhap)

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a much-anticipated summit in the San Francisco Bay Area next week, senior U.S. administration officials have said.

Biden and Xi plan to meet bilaterally Wednesday on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering slated to begin its weeklong run in San Francisco on Saturday, the officials said in a telephonic press briefing Thursday.

The leaders are expected to discuss a "whole range" of issues, including bilateral relations, North Korean threats, Taiwan, the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group, and Russia's protracted war in Ukraine, according to them.

The upcoming meeting between Biden and Xi will be their second in-person summit following their last talks during the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last November. It will also mark their seventh interaction since Biden took office in January 2021.

"We anticipate the leaders will discuss issues on the US-PRC bilateral relationship, the continued importance of strengthening open lines of communication and managing competition responsibly and a range of regional, global and transnational issues," a senior official said. PRC stands for China's official name, the People's Republic of China.

The officials did not specify the exact summit venue, citing "operational security reasons."

Asked if Biden and Xi will discuss North Korea-related issues, including growing military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, the official said that the leaders will have "very broad-gauging" discussions, and that "nothing will be held back."

"We've watched with some concern the burgeoning relationship of late between North Korea and Russia, the provision of military equipment directly there, continuing provocations of North Korea," he said. "I think we intend to underscore our continuing concerns around those provocations to China, who continues to be a substantial patron of North Korea."

The United States will also reiterate its readiness to conduct diplomacy with North Korea and its determination to take steps to deter provocations and to seek the "full" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the official said.

Other agenda items include climate change, human rights, cross-strait issues, the South China Sea and efforts to ensure a "fair level playing field" for American companies and workers.

"Our goal will be to try to take steps that indeed stabilize the relationship between the US and China, remove some areas of misunderstanding and open up new lines of communication," the official pointed out.

On Taiwan, another administration official said that the US' goal will be to reaffirm its One-China policy and its focus on maintaining the "status quo" and ensuring peace and stability.

"We are clear that we are not supportive of Taiwan independence. That is our long-standing policy," the official said.

As Taiwan is preparing for a presidential election in January, the official noted concerns about "potential election influence operations" -- an issue that could come up in the upcoming summit.

"We've been clear publicly and privately that interference in the Taiwan election ... it's something that we are extremely concerned about and, of course, we'll plan on delivering that message again," the official said.

Touching on the tensions in the Middle East, the first official said that Biden would underscore the US' desire for China to make clear in its growing relationship with Iran that the Islamic republic should not seek to escalate or spread violence in the region.

The high-stakes summit would mark the culmination of the brisk US' diplomacy to "de-risk" the relationship between the world's two largest economies amid friction over maritime security, technological leadership and trade, to name a few.

Under the theme of creating a "resilient" and "sustainable" future for all, the APEC summit is set to bring together representatives from 21 APEC member economies, including South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Formed in 1989, APEC, a group of Pacific Rim countries, represents 40 percent of the world's population, nearly half of global trade and over 60 percent of the global economy. The US last hosted the APEC summit in Hawaii in 2011.