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Biden to speak with Xi virtually after Chinese president skips G-20 and climate summits

WashingtonExaminer
WashingtonExaminer
 2021-10-26

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President Joe Biden will speak one-on-one with Chinese President Xi Jinping virtually before the end of the year, according to the White House's top national security expert.

But there is no date for the digital conversation with Jinping, who will not attend the G-20 and United Nations climate summits in person, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday.

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The two world leaders will "be able to sit as close to face-to-face as technology allows to see one another and spend a significant amount of time going over the full agenda," Sullivan said.

Xi has not left China throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with Sullivan noting that was "largely" his reason for skipping the multilateral summits. Russian President Vladimir Putin is also not scheduled to attend either gathering in person.

Biden's priorities for the G-20 include securing a global minimum tax agreement, Sullivan said in his preview of the president's trip to Italy and Scotland for the G-20 and 26th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, respectively. Another is to ensure “a united front" against Iran's nuclear proliferation, though Sullivan added U.S. patience is not unlimited.

“We believe there still is an opportunity to resolve this diplomatically," he said.

Sullivan also defended Biden's credibility on climate issues, despite heading to Glasgow without his Democratic-controlled Congress passing environment-focused legislation.

"I think you've got a sophisticated set of world leaders who understand politics in their own country," he said.

Sullivan declined to confirm whether the press would have access to Biden's fourth audience with Pope Francis in Rome. But he did say Biden would have his first in-person meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the G-20 Friday, coming one month after the diplomatic flap caused by his new national security alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia.

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Biden departs for Rome on Thursday, where he and first lady Jill Biden will visit the pope on Friday. Biden will attend the G-20 summit on Saturday and Sunday before flying to Glasgow on Monday for the climate gathering. The environment talks wrap up on Nov. 2, with the president returning to the White House Nov. 3.

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