US aiming to defuse tensions in Biden-Xi summit

 US aiming to defuse tensions in Biden-Xi summit

US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping will speak Monday at a virtual summit aimed at defusing some of the tensions that have built up over Taiwan and other flashpoint issues, but with both sides signalling little appetite for compromise.

The two leaders have already spoken on the phone twice since Biden’s inauguration in January but, with Xi refusing to travel abroad because of the pandemic, an online video meeting remains the best available avenue for direct talks.

With most attention in the build-up focused on the sparring over Taiwan, a self-ruling democracy claimed by China, Biden’s aides have cast the summit as an opportunity to help prevent tensions escalating further.

“We know as a responsible global leader that it’s important to keep channels of communication open,” a senior administration official told reporters, adding that “competition” between the two countries should not lead to “conflict.”

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