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White House offers details of Biden’s first in-person meeting with Xi Jinping

On Thursday, the White House offered up new details of the agenda for next week’s highly anticipated first face-to-face meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The meeting will take place on Nov. 14 in Bali, Indonesia on the sidelines of a G20 Summit, and will mark their first in-person meeting since Biden became president.

In a call with reporters, a senior administration official outlined the White House's four top agenda items. Those talking points include the relationship between the two countries; concerns about China’s actions in Taiwan and on human rights; areas where the White House says the two countries can work together; and global issues such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and North Korea actions.

Still, the White House is trying to set expectations ahead of the highly watched meeting, with the senior official emphasizing they're “not going to sit down and solve all their differences or problems.”

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 09: President Joe Biden answers questions from reporters at a post-election press conference at the White House on November 9th, 2022. (Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 09: President Joe Biden answers questions from reporters at a post-election press conference at the White House on November 9th, 2022. (Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

‘Lay out what each of our red lines are’

A number of highly contentious issues will also be on the table, such as the global semiconductor shortage and Biden's decision to block the sale of chips and chip-making technology to China. The two leaders could also discuss U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s high-profile visit to Taiwan in August and the belligerent response from China, which the senior administration official called “highly unfortunate.”

Biden briefly addressed the upcoming meeting during a press conference on Wednesday, explaining his own agenda is to: “lay out what each of our red lines are, understand what [Xi Jinping] believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States, and to determine whether or not they conflict with one another.”

The president didn’t answer a question about whether he would commit to using the U.S. military to defend Taiwan from a possible Chinese attack, though he did say trade would be on the agenda. “The Taiwan doctrine has not changed at all,” Biden said. “There's a lot we're going to have to discuss."

U.S. President Joe Biden holds virtual talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Situation Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 18, 2022. The White House/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
President Joe Biden holds virtual talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Situation Room at the White House on March 18, 2022. (The White House/Handout via REUTERS)

‘Not a meeting that is being driven by deliverables’

Overall, the White House is downplaying expectations and emphasizing the meeting as one that will set up the U.S.-China relationship for the future. “This is really not a meeting that is being driven by deliverables,” the senior official said.

Biden is also set to meet with other world leaders such as President Joko Widodo of Indonesia at the G20 Summit in Bali.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech via video at the opening ceremony of the fifth China International Import Expo held in east China's Shanghai on Nov. 4, 2022. (Photo by Gao Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech via video at the opening ceremony of the fifth China International Import Expo held in east China's Shanghai on Nov. 4. (Gao Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images)

As for President Xi, it will be one of the only times he's been outside China since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In June, he left mainland China for the first time in nearly 900 days to visit Hong Kong. Xi also won a historic third term as China's president during a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party last month, where he consolidated his already considerable power.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Vladimir Putin would be at the G20 in person. In fact, the Kremlin said this week that he's not attending. The error has been corrected.

Ben Werschkul is a Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.

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