Joe Biden and Xi Jinping started their bilateral meeting in Bali

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It is the first face-to-face meeting of both leaders as heads of state of the two main powers, to address their multiple discrepancies

The leaders met in Bali

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, began their first meeting as heads of state on Monday with the aim of reducing tensions, which have led the most important bilateral relationship in the world to one of its lowest moments.

The meeting began after 5:30 p.m. local time (09:30 GMT) and will take place in a hotel on the Indonesian island of Bali, where the G20 leaders' summit will begin tomorrow.

< p class="paragraph">Biden told Xi that he hopes to avoid a conflict between Washington and Beijing, and that there is “no substitute” for face-to-face meetings. He also expressed his commitment to “manage differences to prevent competition from turning into conflict.”

For his part, Xi urged him to “find the right direction” for relations. bilateral between both powers. “The world has reached a crossroads” and “hopes that China and the United States will properly manage their relationship,” the Chinese leader said.

Since Biden entered the White House in early 2021, the two leaders have spoken five times by phone and video conference. However, it is the first time they have met in person since 2017, when Biden was vice president of Barack Obama.

The two leaders, accompanied by their advisers , will have simultaneous translation, US officials detailed in a telephone press conference. According to these sources, Biden arrives at the meeting with the firm goal of establishing communication channels with Xi to avoid misunderstandings and establish “clear rules of the road” that prevent competition between Beijing and Washington from leading to conflict.

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping started their bilateral meeting in Bali

(Reuters)

It is only Xi's second trip abroad since the start of the COVID pandemic. Both leaders greeted each other with a shake of hands, leaving behind fist bumps or social distancing.

The White House expects the meeting to last about two hours. Biden has said he wants to discuss with Xi the issue of human rights in China and the tensions around the South China Sea and Taiwan, a Washington ally whom Beijing considers a rebellious province.

Another topic at the meeting will be North Korea, which has increased missile launches and may be preparing to carry out its first nuclear test since 2017.

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping began their bilateral meeting in Bali

The delegations of both powers (Reuters)

It is also possible that the trade issue will be addressed, especially the tariffs that former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) imposed on Chinese imports and that Biden has maintained, as well as the new restrictions that the US has placed on the sale of Chinese microchips.

At 9:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. GMT), about four hours after the start of the meeting between the two leaders, Biden plans to offer a press conference.

Both arrived at the long-awaited meeting after meeting reinforced in their countries. Democrats manage to maintain control of the US Senate in the midterm elections and have a chance to widen their margin in the Senate with a runoff in Georgia next month. For his part, Xi won a third five-year term in October at the Communist Party's national congress, a break with tradition.

White House officials have been at pains to downplay any idea of ​​conflict between the two countries, stressing that they believe the two countries can work together on shared challenges such as climate change and health security.

But relations between Washington and Beijing they have become tense during successive US governments as their differences in the economy, trade, human rights and security were exposed.

(With information from EFE, AFP, AP)< /i>

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