Biden looks to get U.S.-China relations ‘back to normal’ in meeting with Xi

All eyes will be on President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping today in San Francisco, but don’t expect any sweeping resolutions out of their discussions — at least not anything “that will change the course of the world,” a former White House National Security Council official said.

Still, today’s rare face-to-face is itself a breakthrough. The meeting may go a long way toward calming voters who fear the countries are on a march to war.

It’ll be the first time Biden and Xi have met since they spoke last year in Bali, Indonesia. Since then, relations between the U.S. and China have been strained by the Chinese spy balloon that floated over the U.S. and encounters in the air and sea between China and Taiwan. In June, Biden referred to Xi as a “dictator,” an accusation that caught even senior U.S. officials off-guard.

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Before leaving for California yesterday, Biden told reporters the purpose of the meeting is to “get back on a normal course of corresponding.”

The two leaders are expected to discuss the wars going on in Ukraine and the Middle East (Biden wants to warn Xi against North Korea or Iran meddling in the conflicts) and the U.S.’s high-level visits to Taiwan (Xi wants to see fewer visits from American officials), among other topics. While the meeting is an opportunity for them to ease tensions, there are some risks involved.

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