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Highlights: Joe Biden and Xi Jinping talk military cooperation, climate and Tawain

The summit between the two leaders lasted about four hours. It was the first time in a year that they had met in person.

What to know about the Biden-Xi summit:

  • President Joe Biden met face to face with Chinese President Xi Jinping today and said they made "real progress." It was the first conversation between the two leaders in a year.
  • The summit was held at the Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, California, about 35 miles south of San Francisco.
  • The two leaders discussed a variety of thorny issues, including wars in Ukraine and the Middle East. Biden would like to see China use its influence with Iran to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from widening, and he was expected to press Xi to use his leverage to stop North Korea from supplying weapons to Russia.
  • The leaders were also expected to agree on steps to curb the flow of fentanyl from China to the U.S. and reopen military communication channels Beijing closed in response to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last year.
14d ago / 4:55 AM UTC

What the U.S. and China say about their relationship

U.S. and Chinese readouts of the Biden-Xi meeting reflected the complicated relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.

Biden “emphasized that the United States and China are in competition,” the White House readout said, and that the U.S. “would always stand up for its interests, its values, and its allies and partners.” But he said the world expected the two countries “to manage competition responsibly to prevent it from veering into conflict, confrontation, or a new Cold War.”

The Chinese readout said that “turning their back on each other is not an option” for the U.S. and China, and that the world is big enough for both to succeed.

But Xi also objected to U.S. actions he sees as aimed at stifling China’s development, such as export controls on semiconductors and other strategically sensitive technologies. “China does not have a plan to surpass or unseat the United States,” the Chinese readout said. “Likewise, the United States should not scheme to suppress and contain China.”

14d ago / 4:35 AM UTC

Taiwan welcomes Biden's support for peace over cross-strait issues


Taiwan welcomed Biden's call for peace in the Taiwan Strait, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jeff Liu said today, adding it felt "affirmed and welcomed."

“We have never sought to predict whether or when China might attack," Liu said at a news conference, adding Taiwan is boosting its defenses and winning international support.

"This is to let China understand the high importance the international community attaches to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, the high price of starting a war and to not act blindly without thinking," he said.

14d ago / 4:13 AM UTC

Biden raised human rights concerns in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong with Xi, White House says

Biden raised concerns about "human rights abuses" in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong with Xi, the White House said today in a readout of their meeting.

"President Biden underscored the universality of human rights and the responsibility of all nations to respect their international human rights commitments," it said.

14d ago / 4:01 AM UTC

Gwen Stefani to hollaback at APEC

Gwen Stefani is tonight's APEC dinner entertainment, according to a pool report.

14d ago / 3:56 AM UTC

Biden concludes opening remarks welcoming leaders to San Francisco

Biden concluded brief opening remarks at the dinner, welcoming leaders to San Francisco.

"Over the next few days, I hope we'll all take full advantage of this summit to make new connections and spark new partnerships," Biden said. "Because every step we take to deepen our cooperation, to launch a new venture, to tackle a challenge that's an impact on all of us, is a step toward realization of the enormous potential of our Asian Pacific future."

14d ago / 3:50 AM UTC

U.S. and China vow to ‘accelerate efforts’ on climate change

Though Biden did not mention climate change at his solo news conference, readouts of his meeting with Xi from both the U.S. and Chinese sides noted the importance of climate cooperation between the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters.

“The two leaders underscored the importance of working together to accelerate efforts to tackle the climate crisis in this critical decade,” both readouts said.

They also welcomed an agreement reached this week that revives a bilateral working group on climate action. China had cut off climate talks last year in protest of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, a self-ruling island democracy that Beijing claims as its territory.

The climate agreement comes weeks before countries gather in Dubai for COP28, a crucial United Nations climate conference.

14d ago / 3:42 AM UTC

Steve Kerr introduces Biden at dinner

Steve Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors, just introduced Biden for his remarks at the APEC leaders' dinner.

14d ago / 3:19 AM UTC

Indo-Pacific trade deal stalled in setback for White House

Negotiators have yet to conclude a trade deal among 14 Indo-Pacific countries that the Biden administration had hoped to announce this week as it tries to counter China’s growing economic influence in the region.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday that while there had been “significant progress” on the trade section of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, an initiative the White House announced last year, it was “likely to require further work,” Reuters reported.

Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about labor and environmental standards, as well as the deal’s potential impact on their election prospects.

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which does not include China, is generally viewed in Asia as insufficient compared with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact that was essentially killed when former President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2017. China is now seeking to join a successor agreement known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP.

14d ago / 3:05 AM UTC

Biden arrives at APEC reception

Biden's motorcade arrived at the APEC leaders' welcome reception, according to a pool report. The reception is taking place at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

There was a large number of demonstrators at a few intersections along the route, according to a pool report.

14d ago / 2:50 AM UTC

Xi expected to dine with American business leaders

After his meeting with Biden today, Xi was expected to attend a dinner in San Francisco with top executives from U.S. companies.

For Xi, who is expected to give a speech at the dinner, it is a chance to court American businesses as China grapples with an economic slowdown. U.S. executives — many of whom, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, have visited China in recent months — will be looking to Xi for insight on how to do business in an environment they see as increasingly unpredictable.

U.S. lawmakers have accused those who attend the dinner, which is hosted by the U.S.-China Business Council and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, of ignoring China’s human rights record.

Though U.S. businesses view China, the world’s second-biggest economy, as a less attractive place for investment than before, they still consider it a hugely important market and say in surveys that their biggest worry is the strained U.S.-China relationship.

14d ago / 2:20 AM UTC

Biden said he would still call Xi a "dictator" in response to a question.

14d ago / 2:17 AM UTC

Biden said at a news conference that he's dedicated to bringing hostages in Gaza home.

14d ago / 2:09 AM UTC

Biden says he would still call Xi a dictator

Biden stood by his description of Xi this year as a “dictator.”

“He’s a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours,” Biden said.

Biden first called Xi a dictator at a fundraiser in June, catching senior U.S. officials off-guard. The Chinese government said at the time that Biden’s comments were “extremely absurd and irresponsible.”

14d ago / 1:54 AM UTC

Biden says the U.S. and China will work to decrease fentanyl coming into the country.

14d ago / 1:52 AM UTC

No agreement on U.S. citizens detained in China

Biden said that he had raised the issue of U.S. citizens detained in China or prevented from leaving the country and that he had named specific people but that there was “no agreement on that.”

Before Biden’s meeting today with Xi, U.S. lawmakers and family members had called for the release of Americans the U.S. government considers wrongfully detained in China, including Mark Swidan, Kai Li and David Lin.

14d ago / 1:48 AM UTC

Biden sees 'two-state solution' in Israel-Hamas war

Biden said tonight that he didn't believe the Israel-Hamas war would end "until there's a two-state solution."

He was answering a question about setting a deadline around the U.S.' support for Israel in the conflict.

"I can’t tell you how long it’s going to last," Biden said. "But I can tell you I don’t think it ultimately ends until there’s a two-state solution. I made it clear to the Israelis I think it’s a big mistake for them to think they’re going to occupy Gaza."

14d ago / 1:46 AM UTC

'Not going to stop 'till we get her' Biden says of 3-year-old American hostage

Biden was asked by a reporter about hostages in Gaza, including a 3-year-old American reportedly being held.

"I'm not going to stop till we get her," he said.

14d ago / 1:39 AM UTC

Biden says Hamas committed war crime by operating under a hospital

Biden said at the briefing that he discussed the situation in Gaza with Xi.

Biden said Hamas' "headquarters, their military," are under a hospital, calling it a war crime.

"But one thing has been established: It is that Hamas does have headquarters, weapons, material below this hospital, and I suspect others," he added later.

14d ago / 1:39 AM UTC

Biden says U.S. policy on Taiwan is ‘not going to change’

On Taiwan, Biden said he told Xi “that we maintain an agreement that there is a one-China policy and that I’m not going to change that.”

Under the “one-China policy,” Washington acknowledges Beijing’s position that the self-ruling island democracy of Taiwan is part of China without endorsing it and maintains unofficial relations with Taipei.

“That’s not going to change, and so that’s about the extent to which we discussed it,” Biden said.

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President Joe Biden at a news conference Wednesday after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
14d ago / 1:35 AM UTC

Biden says he doesn't expect Chinese interference in Taiwan's elections

Biden said at the news conference that he discussed Taiwan's coming presidential election, which is set for January. He said he made it clear to Xi that he did not expect any interference in the island's election: "any at all."

14d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

Biden notes fresh 'cooperation' to reduce transport of fentanyl ingredients from China

Biden that said at the news conference that the U.S. and China are "restarting cooperation" to reduce the amount of fentanyl shipped directly from China to the U.S., which initially made progress in 2019.

"In the years since that time, the challenge has evolved from finished fentanyl to fentanyl chemical ingredients" being transported, Biden said.

"So today, with this new understanding, we're taking action to significantly reduce the flow of precursor chemicals and pill presses from China to the Western Hemisphere. It's going to save lives, and I appreciate President Xi's commitment," he added.

14d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

The U.S. and China are resuming direct military talks, Biden said

Biden said at a news conference after the summit that the two countries are resuming military-to-military talks, which are intended to prevent unintentional conflict.

Biden also said the countries made progress in plans to stem the flow of fentanyl precursors.

14d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

The news conference is beginning

Biden has begun speaking.

14d ago / 1:12 AM UTC

News conference starting shortly

Biden will hold a news conference to discuss the meeting shortly.

14d ago / 12:31 AM UTC

Biden touts 'productive' meeting with Xi


In a new post on X, Biden praised what he called a "constructive" summit with Xi.

“I’ve just concluded a day of meetings with President Xi, and I believe they were some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had,” he tweeted. “We built on groundwork laid over the past several months of diplomacy between our countries and made important progress.”

The post included a picture of Biden and Xi meeting alongside top administration officials.

14d ago / 12:18 AM UTC

Chinese official says U.S. should 'support China's peaceful reunification' with Taiwan

A spokesperson for China's Foreign Affairs Ministry who attended today's summit said on X that Xi said the "Taiwan question" remains the "most sensitive issue" in U.S.-China relations.

"The U.S. side should take real actions to honor its commitment of not supporting 'Taiwan independence', stop arming Taiwan, and support China’s peaceful reunification," said Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Hua Chunying, a spokesperson. "China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable."

14d ago / 11:36 PM UTC

Biden-Xi summit concludes, White House says

The White House said shortly before 3:30 p.m. PT that the Biden-Xi summit is over, according to a pool report.

The summit lasted a little more than four hours.

14d ago / 11:29 PM UTC

Biden gives thumbs-up and responds to question about the meeting


As Biden and Xi walked by reporters, Biden gave a thumbs-up in response to shouted questions about the meeting.

Asked how the talks are going, Biden said, "Well."

14d ago / 11:19 PM UTC

Biden and Xi emerge from working lunch meeting

Biden and Xi walked together by reporters this afternoon after they had a working lunch meeting.

In a little more than an hour, Biden is expected to hold a solo press conference.

14d ago / 10:54 PM UTC

Biden tweets during summit: 'We made real progress'

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Biden tweeted that he and Xi "made real progress" during today's summit, and emphasized the importance of understanding one another.

"I value the conversation I had today with President Xi because I think it’s paramount that we understand each other clearly, leader to leader," Biden said on X. "There are critical global challenges that demand our joint leadership. And today, we made real progress."

14d ago / 10:45 PM UTC

Diplomacy, with a side of ravioli

The White House released the menu for the Biden-Xi working lunch:

  • Herbed ricotta ravioli
  • Artichoke crisps
  • Tarragon roasted heritage chicken
  • Carolina gold rice pilaf
  • Charred broccolini and Brussels sprouts
  • Almond meringue cake
  • Praline buttercream
  • Concord grape sauce
14d ago / 10:39 PM UTC

Biden and Xi have working lunch meeting

Biden and Xi are participating in a working lunch meeting, according to a White House pool report. The meeting started shortly after 2 p.m. PT.

Biden is attending the meeting with Blinken and Sullivan. Xi is attending the meeting with top officials Wang Yi and Cai Qi.

14d ago / 9:53 PM UTC

Biden-Xi expanded meeting wraps up


Biden and Xi's expanded bilateral meeting ended at 1:35 p.m. PT, according to a pool report. Now, the two leaders will go into their next closed-door meetings, which will be a smaller group.

The larger meeting appears to have lasted about two hours.

14d ago / 9:39 PM UTC

Coming into today's meeting, expectations were low.

14d ago / 9:02 PM UTC

Couples that bilat together...

Today's meeting could be the first time a husband and wife are both at the table for a major U.S. bilat meeting.  

Lael Brainard, rirector of the National Economic Council (and former vice chair of the Federal Reserve) is sitting next to John Kerry.  

At the other end of the table is her husband, Kurt Campbell, currently National Security Council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific and who has been nominated to be deputy secretary of state.

14d ago / 8:23 PM UTC

I was very struck by Xi’s opening comments referring to “respect” in connection with the right way for two countries to get along with each other. His comments that “it’s unrealistic for one country to remodel the other” would appear to be a reference to U.S. concerns about human rights abuses in China and other domestic policies.

14d ago / 7:56 PM UTC

Here are the U.S. and Chinese participants

The U.S. delegation includes:

  • Antony Blinken, Secretary of State 
  • Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury 
  • Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce 
  • Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lael Brainard, Assistant to the President and Director of the National Economic Council
  • John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate 
  • Kurt Campbell, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, National Security Council
  • Nicholas Burns, Ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China
  • Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Sarah Beran, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for China, National Security Council
  • Rush Doshi, Deputy Senior Director for China, National Security Council
  • Pierce Davis, Director for China, National Security Council

The Chinese delegation includes:

  • President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China
  • Cai Qi, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CCCPC, Director of the General Office of the CCCPC
  • Wang Yi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CCCPC, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Jiang Jinquan, Director of the Policy Research Office of the CCCPC
  • Zheng Shanjie, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission
  • Lan Fo’an, Minister of Finance 
  • Wang Wentao, Minister of Commerce 
  • Ma Zhaoxu, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs 
  • Xie Feng, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United States
  • Lu Luhua, Secretary of President Xi Jinping 
  • H.E. Hua Chunying, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs 
  • Yang Tao, Director-General, Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs, MFA
  • Zheng Liqiao, Deputy Director-General, Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs, MFA
14d ago / 7:37 PM UTC

Biden-Xi summit begins

Shortly after both leaders delivered opening remarks, the press was escorted out of the room for the meeting to start. Both leaders were flanked at a long table by a slew of top administration officials.

Image: President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping
President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' week in Woodside, Calif., on Wednesday.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
14d ago / 7:36 PM UTC

Xi says 'not an option' for U.S. and China to turn their backs on each other

Xi said in his remarks to Biden and the U.S. delegation that the world has changed since he last met with Biden in Bali a year ago.

"The world has emerged from the Covid pandemic, but is still under its tremendous impacts. The global economy is recovering, but its momentum remains sluggish," Xi said.

The Chinese president said his country's relationship with the U.S. has "never been smooth sailing" over the last 50 years "yet it has kept moving forward" with twists and turns.

"It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, and conflict and confrontation has terrible consequences for both sides," he said. "The world at large is big enough for the two countries to succeed."

Xi said he looks forward to exchanging views on various world issues during the summit.

14d ago / 7:29 PM UTC

Biden delivers opening comments to Xi

Biden delivered opening remarks to Xi before the summit in a portion of the meeting open to the press. He thanked Xi for coming to the U.S. and reflected on the leaders' last meeting in Bali.

Biden also emphasized that the leaders had to ensure that competition should not veer into conflict, which echoed remarks administration officials have delivered in the past over the countries' relations.

"I value our conversation because I think it's paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication," Biden said.

14d ago / 7:24 PM UTC

Biden and Xi shake hands

Biden greeted Xi on the red carpet for the Chinese president's arrival. The two leaders briefly shook hands before entering the building for the summit.

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of APEC summit, in Woodside
President Joe Biden shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, in Woodside, Calif., on Wednesday.Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
14d ago / 7:17 PM UTC

Xi arrives at the summit

Xi arrived at the meeting in Woodside, California, and was greeted at the door by Biden.

U.S. military members flanked a red carpet at the entrance, with a U.S. flag on one side and a Chinese flag on the other.

The summit marks the first bilateral meeting between the two leaders in a year.

14d ago / 6:59 PM UTC

Biden has arrived at the summit


Biden arrived at the meeting site, Filoli Historic House and Garden, in Woodside, Calif., at 1:51 p.m. ET.

14d ago / 6:46 PM UTC

Who's in the motorcade heading to the summit?

Officials from the White House are officially en route to the meeting with Xi, including:

Secretary Antony Blinken, Department of State

Secretary Janet Yellen, Department of the Treasury

Secretary Gina Raimondo, Department of Commerce

Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Nicholas Burns, Ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Assistant to the President & Deputy Chief of Staff

Mike Donilon, Assistant to the President & Senior Advisor to the President

Annie Tomasini, Assistant to the President & Senior Adviser to the President & Director of Oval Office Operations

Karine Jean-Pierre, Assistant to the President & Press Secretary

Ben LaBolt, Assistant to the President & Director of Communications

Lael Brainard, Assistant to the President & Director of the National Economic Council

Ryan Montoya, Assistant to the President & Director of Scheduling & Advance

Kurt Campbell, Deputy Assistant to the President and NSC Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific

Curtis Ried, Deputy Assistant to the President & NSC Chief of Staff & Executive Secretary

John Kirby, Deputy Assistant to the President & NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications

Adrienne Watson, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Press & NSC Spokesperson

Carlyn Reichel, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Speechwriting & Strategic Initiatives, National Security Council

Sarah Beran, Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for China and Taiwan Affairs

Charlie Fromstein, Director for Visits and Diplomatic Affairs, National Security Council

Ariana Berengaut, Senior Adviser to the National Security Adviser

14d ago / 6:40 PM UTC

Biden heads to APEC Summit

Biden is headed to the summit site in Woodside, Calif., at the Filoli Historic House and Garden. He's scheduled to arrive at approximately 10:47 a.m. PT.

14d ago / 5:42 PM UTC

DeSantis writes China policy op-ed

Presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who has framed China as the United States’ top national security threat in both policy and rhetoric — is out with an op-ed today published in the New York Post outlining his China-focused foreign policy plans.

Both US parties have mistakenly treated China as a friendly competitor, letting a hostile Marxist regime exploit our openness and steal our technology, jobs, industries and assets through trade abuses, currency manipulation and slave labor. It’s allowed Beijing’s defense budget and military to rival Washington’s, putting China on track to surpass us economically.”

“While adversaries such as Russia, Iran and North Korea threaten America and must be countered, China is our foremost national-security threat. When you examine the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, who is Russia’s main backer? China. If you look at what’s happening in Gaza with Hamas, much of the terrorism is funded by Iran, whose regime is ultimately funded through black-market oil sales to China. And China supports and protects the totalitarian regime in North Korea. We must address China’s behavior to counter these other threats effectively.”

“I will posture ground-based missiles with allies in the Indo-Pacific as a ‘ring of fire’ to deter China’s aggression and invest in ports in the region to ensure free and fair access to the seas.”

14d ago / 4:38 PM UTC

Biden and Xi meet in effort to smooth tensions

SAN FRANCISCO — Biden will meet face-to-face with his Chinese counterpart today, breaking a yearlong silence marked by rising tensions that have stoked fears their countries are on a path toward war.

The summit will take place in San Francisco this morning at a location U.S. officials declined to reveal out of security concerns.

It will be the first time that Biden and Xi have talked — much less met — since a meeting on the sidelines of an international summit in Bali, Indonesia, a year ago.

Since that time, relations between the U.S. and China have soured in ways that elevate the risk of an unwanted confrontation, U.S. officials said. As an example, when the Biden administration shot down a Chinese spy balloon that crossed the U.S. in February, the Pentagon had no one in China to contact because Beijing had closed an important military communications channel, a senior Biden administration official told reporters yesterday while previewing the Biden-Xi meeting.

Read the full story here.

15d ago / 2:13 PM UTC

Report casts doubt on U.S.-China diplomacy

The newly released annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission includes a sobering assessment of the state of U.S.-China relations and suggests the futility — in the minds of the commissioners and staff — of high-level diplomacy like the meeting between Biden and Xi today.

“While the top-level contacts reflected a general desire, at least by the United States, to improve the relationship with Beijing and create an air of normalcy, the new normal is one of continuing, long-term strategic and systemic competition,” the report’s executive summary begins. “China’s Communist Party (CCP) regime gives no sign of altering its policies, either at home or abroad. Beijing continues to reject cooperation with the United States on fundamental questions of national security, economics, or trade."

"The result of high-level meetings between the United States and China has been merely the promise of further meetings — that is, of more talk rather than concrete actions. China now appears to view diplomacy with the United States primarily as a tool for forestalling and delaying U.S. pressure over a period of years while China moves ever further down the path of developing its own economic, military, and technological capabilities."

The report includes a blunt assessment of China’s influence operations in the U.S. and around the world, saying they "seek to undermine political processes and manipulate political or social activity to disguise actions that advance China’s interests as being the efforts of domestic constituencies."

“Under Xi’s rule, China’s overseas influence activities are now more prevalent, institutionalized, technologically sophisticated, and aggressive than under his predecessors," the report adds.

“The Chinese Party-state exhibits a growing and increasingly brazen tendency to employ coercion in tandem with persuasion to conduct overseas influence activities, often in ways that challenge other countries’ sovereignty or threaten the rights of persons living within their borders," the report continues. "Beijing seeks to sow discord in other countries, including the United States, where the uptick in China’s influence activities has inflamed rhetoric and contributed to a troubling rise in violence against Asian Americans.”

15d ago / 2:13 PM UTC

Biden and Xi are set for a high-stakes meeting in California to stabilize a relationship that’s reached its lowest point in decades. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports for "TODAY."

15d ago / 2:13 PM UTC

Biden-Xi meeting offers both leaders opportunities — and risks

SAN FRANCISCO — Simply by sitting down with his Chinese counterpart Wednesday, President Joe Biden may go a long way toward calming voters who fear the global powers are headed toward open conflict.

After a fraught year marked by near misses in the skies between U.S. and Chinese warplanes, both Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping need the meeting that’s set to take place in California, if for no other reason than to reassure a jittery world audience that they are once again talking, foreign policy experts said. 

Each president seems to have space back home to ease tensions, polling suggests. A Morning Consult survey showed that the share of Chinese adults who view the U.S. in hostile terms has dropped 9 points since April. Another survey found that only 13% of U.S. voters wanted an aggressive approach toward China, while a majority worried more about open conflict with China than about the U.S.’ not appearing tough enough in its dealings with Beijing.

Such trends could blunt a potential line of attack against Biden from Donald Trump, the Republican presidential primary front-runner. In the 2020 campaign, Trump sought to paint Biden as soft on China, an accusation he’s likely to repeat in a rematch. But the public’s mood suggests that Biden could gain traction with more moderate and independent-minded voters by pursuing a dialogue with Xi and eschewing the hawkish stance many in Trump’s orbit embrace.

Read the full story here.