ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — United States President Joe Biden will make clear in his bilateral meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Indonesia that his country seeks no conflict, a White House official said on Sunday.
The two leaders are set to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali this week for their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office in Jan. 2021. Jake Sullivan, a national security adviser to Biden, said the meeting could last “a couple of hours.”
“The president sees the United States and China as being engaged in a stiff competition, but that competition should not tip over 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 “totally straightforward and direct” in his conversation with Xi, continuing an approach he has pursued from the beginning of his presidency. He said the administration was not seeking to “reset” the relationship, despite various issues and flashpoints that had emerged, but saw the meeting as a continuation of Biden’s approach.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden would speak with reporters after his meeting with Xi, but declined to say if he would hold a full news conference.
The U.S. 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 is a “huge demand signal” for U.S. engagement, Sullivan said.
He added that Biden feels the results of the U.S. midterm elections, in which the Democratic Party crushed hopes of a Republican “red wave,” will establish a strong position for him on the international stage. (Reporting by Nandita Bose; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor Editing by David Goodman, Elaine Hardcastle and Jane Merriman)