With tensions rising between the global powers, President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual meeting before year’s end, according to the White House.
The agreement in principle for the talks was disclosed after White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi met for six hours in Zurich.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the two sides are still working through what the virtual meeting “would look like.”
The presidential meeting was proposed after Biden, who spent a substantial amount of time with Xi when the two were vice presidents, mentioned during their call last month that he would like to be able to see Xi again, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to comment publicly on the talks between Sullivan and Yang and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Xi has not left China during the coronavirus pandemic and is not expected to attend in person the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Rome and a U.N. climate conference in Scotland.
A White House statement on the Swiss meeting said Sullivan stressed to Yang the need to maintain open lines of communication, while raising concerns about China’s recent military provocations against Taiwan, human rights abuses against ethnic minorities and Beijing’s efforts to squelch pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong.