By Beatriz Pascual Macias
Bali, Indonesia, Nov 14 (EFE).- The presidents of the United States and China, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, will hold a long-awaited meeting Monday on the Indonesian island of Bali after months of secret negotiations that began in a call between the leaders in July, US officials said Monday.
Biden and Xi spoke for hours in July, amid tensions over US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s imminent visit to Taiwan, and at that time both highlighted the “value” that a meeting would have face to face, as the White House said at the time.
That was the moment the two leaders asked their teams to start preparing for the meeting, which will finally take place at 5:30 p.m. local time (09:30 GMT) Monday on the margins of the G20 Summit in Bali.
What followed the call between Biden and Xi was “dozens of hours of quiet behind-the-scenes diplomacy” and months of negotiations in which the US and Chinese teams tried to reach agreements on the format of the meeting and the issues addressed, officials said.
“Each of the issues associated with this meeting, from foreign policy issues to logistics, have been carefully evaluated, negotiated and agreed upon by the two parties,” one of the sources said.
One of the key moments that accelerated the process was the meeting US State Secretary Antony Blinken had in September in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
That face-to-face served to create the idea that, after a contentious period between the two powers, it was necessary and “natural” for the two leaders to talk, especially considering that both were going to meet at the G20 in Bali, the ministers said.
Those sources said negotiations brought to the surface many of the differences between the two powers, but described the process as “serious, sustained and professional,” an example of the “tradition” of diplomacy between the US and China.
They also considered that these exchanges, in themselves, already have a very important value for the bilateral relationship.
In fact, Biden arrives at the meeting with the firm objective of establishing communication channels with Xi to avoid misunderstandings and establish “clear rules of circulation” that prevent competition between Beijing and Washington from leading to conflict, according to officials.
As a result of the negotiations, it has been agreed that the leaders will meet face to face accompanied by “a small” group of advisers.
The exchange will have simultaneous translation and will last about two hours, according to the White House.
On the table will be the tensions around Taiwan and the South China Sea, as well as North Korea’s missiles and trade tensions, especially the tariffs former President Donald Trump imposed on Chinese imports that Biden has maintained.
It will be the first in-person meeting between Biden and Xi since the American arrived at the White House in January 2021, although the two have had five phone calls in the last 20 months.
The last time they saw each other in person was in January 2017, when they both met at the World Economic Forum in Davos and Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president. EFE