(FILE) US President Joe Biden speaks at Jones Elementary School in Joliet, Illinois, USA, 05 November 2022. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/KAMIL KRZACZINSKI

Surprise meeting between Biden and Chinese Foreign Minister

Washington, October 27 (EFE) – The President of the United States, Joe Biden, had an unscheduled meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the White House on Friday, the highest-level meeting the President has had with a Chinese official in the past year.

The meeting, which was not on Biden’s agenda, mirrors the surprise meeting that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip to Beijing in June.

According to a brief White House statement, Biden told Wang that the US and China “must responsibly manage competition in the relationship and maintain open lines of communication.”

He also “emphasized that the United States and China must work together to address global challenges,” according to the White House statement.

The American president also offered his condolences on the death of former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who died of a heart attack on Friday at the age of 68.

The meeting lasted about an hour, and Biden expressed his desire to meet again with Chinese President Xi Jinping, White House spokesman John Kirby said in a telephone press briefing afterward.

Biden hosted the Chinese foreign minister when he visited the White House to meet with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan after two days of meetings with Blinken at the State Department.

Washington has been trying to smooth things over with Beijing for months, a need that has become even more urgent with the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Specifically, the United States wants China to use its influence with Iran to dissuade the Persian country from entering the war and avoid a regional conflict.

The meetings in Washington between Blinken and Wang also served to prepare for a possible meeting between Biden and Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to be held in San Francisco in mid-November.

The White House has been preparing for weeks for this meeting, which has not yet been officially confirmed, and which would serve to stage the strategy of rapprochement between the two governments that began months ago with Blinken’s visit to Beijing.

Biden and Xi last met in November 2022 during the G20 in Bali, Indonesia, where they agreed to maintain regular contacts after years of deterioration in bilateral relations due to the trade war between the two countries, the situation in Taiwan and the military presence in the South China Sea.

But those efforts were derailed in February when Washington accused Beijing of sending an alleged Chinese spy balloon into US airspace.

Relations did not begin to improve until Blinken’s trip to Beijing in June, which was followed by visits by other US officials such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

California’s governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, met with Xi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday.

Xi’s last trip to the United States was in April 2017, when he met with then-president Donald Trump (2017-2021) in Florida. EFE