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Biden and Xi agree to hold virtual summit this year

Joe Biden and his Chinese language counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to carry a digital summit this yr, within the first signal of bettering relations between the nations for the reason that US president took workplace.

Jake Sullivan, US nationwide safety adviser, and Yang Jiechi, China’s prime overseas coverage official, reached an settlement in Zurich on Wednesday to carry a digital summit between the leaders following their two telephone calls earlier this yr.

“We do have out of at this time’s assembly an settlement in precept to carry a digital bilateral assembly between the leaders earlier than the top of the yr,” a US official stated after Sullivan and Yang met for six hours.

The official stated they’d a extra productive change than in earlier high-level conferences, together with once they met in March in Alaska with Antony Blinken, secretary of state, and Wang Yi, China’s overseas minister.

“Right now actually concerned a real backwards and forwards, which was fairly welcome — a special tone than Anchorage, a special type of really feel within the capability to trip than in Anchorage,” stated the official.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Sullivan and Yang deliberate to debate the potential for a digital summit. Biden beforehand instructed to his Chinese language counterpart that they maintain an in-person assembly, however folks aware of the decision stated Xi didn’t categorical a willingness to fulfill at the moment.

In the meantime, Beijing has signalled that Xi, who has not left China for the reason that begin of the coronavirus pandemic, doesn’t intend to journey abroad within the close to future.

The official dismissed solutions that the end result of the Zurich assembly marked a “thaw” in US-China relations, however stated that it marked a “substantive and constructive” step. The official added that Sullivan had raised US considerations a couple of vary of points, together with the crackdown on the pro-democracy motion in Hong Kong, the persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and Chinese language army exercise round Taiwan.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have continued to mount in current months, significantly because the Chinese language air power has in current days flown document numbers of warplanes into Taiwan’s “air defence identification zone”.

Whereas most analysts don’t view the exercise as a prelude to battle, it has sparked rising anxiousness about China’s stance in the direction of Taiwan — which it views as its sovereign territory — and in regards to the potential for the state of affairs to spiral unintentionally into battle.

Taiwan’s defence minister this week stated that China can be fully capable of invading the island by 2025, within the first clear warning that it faces the specter of battle.

The US official stated that Washington considered any exercise that threatened peace throughout the Taiwan Strait as being of “deep concern” however instructed that the incursions of current days didn’t mark a fabric distinction.

“Our view on the current flights . . . is that they’re a continuation of a really regarding development, and transferring in a regarding route. However I see them primarily in that context of a regarding development line,” the official stated.

Comply with Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter

 

https://www.ft.com/content material/ebaf5da8-952f-4ef7-b976-f47e770cb810 | Biden and Xi agree to carry digital summit this yr

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