ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Nov 13 – United States President Joe Biden will make it clear his country is not seeking any conflict at a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Indonesia, amidst G20, a White House official said on Sunday.
The two leaders are scheduled to meet this week on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali for their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office in January 2021. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said the meeting could last “a couple of hours.”
“The president sees the United States and China as engaged in fierce competition, but that competition should not degenerate into conflict or confrontation,” Sullivan told reporters. “It needs to be managed responsibly… and there are also areas where we can work together.”
Sullivan said Biden would be “completely direct and direct” in his conversation with Xi, continuing the approach he has followed since the beginning of his presidency. He said the administration is not seeking to “reset” the relationship, despite the various problems and flare-ups that have arisen, but sees the meeting as a continuation of Biden’s approach.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden would speak to reporters after his meeting with Xi, but declined to say whether he would hold a full news conference.
The US president is on his way to the G20 summit in Indonesia, having just met with Southeast Asian and East Asian leaders in Cambodia.
Biden’s visit to Cambodia showed there was a “big signal of demand” for US involvement, Sullivan said.
He added that Biden feels that the results of the US midterm elections, in which the Democratic Party crushed hopes of a Republican “red wave”, will give him a strong position on the international stage.