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Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to meet ahead of APEC Summit: Top 7 things to know


United States President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet prior to the 30th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in San Francisco, aiming to mitigate tensions in what’s viewed as a critical global rivalry.

Leaders from the 21-member forum will gather at the global summit. However, the Biden-Xi bilateral will be the marquee moment of the forum, as it comes amid rising tension between the two nations following a series of events touched off by the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon that had wafted across the US earlier this year.

So, here are the top 7 things to know ahead of the anticipated meeting

Limited Personal Meetings: Despite a decade-long acquaintance and multiple discussions since Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, the leaders have met only once in person since then. Xi’s last visit to the United States dates back to 2017 during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Agenda on the Table: The White House highlights the summit’s objective as ‘enhancing communication to prevent potential conflict between the two nations’. Anticipated topics encompass global concerns spanning conflicts in the Middle East and Russia’s actions in Ukraine to North Korea’s connections with Russia, Taiwan, human rights, artificial intelligence, and trade relations.

US Stance and Expected Discussions: Biden is poised to affirm the US’s commitment to supporting Indo-Pacific allies, specifically mentioning Taiwan amidst Chinese pressure. Security commitments to the Philippines will also be underscored.

Expected Deals and Agreements: Washington seeks concrete outcomes, including progress in restoring military ties and combatting the trade of fentanyl, a harmful synthetic opioid in the US. An agreement on fentanyl could entail lifting human rights sanctions on China’s police forensic institute.

Political Expectations and Economic Implications: With Taiwan’s 2024 elections looming, China seeks assurances from the US against fostering pro-independence sentiments. Additionally, China aims to ease tariffs and export controls on advanced semiconductors. The leaders might discuss enhancing commercial flights and potentially easing journalist visa restrictions, benefiting both nations.

Market Impact: Market observers will keenly monitor these talks, seeking cues on bilateral sentiment. APEC members and global stakeholders anticipate a reduction in US-China tensions, albeit potentially short-lived given Taiwan’s upcoming elections and the uncertainty surrounding the 2024 US presidential race.

Market Expectations: As Biden and Xi engage, markets await signals amid ongoing geopolitical dynamics, hoping for a positive impact amidst broader uncertainties in the coming political landscape.

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Updated: 15 Nov 2023, 06:52 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.