Xi’s support of Putin to be tested by Biden meeting outcome

China’s President Xi Jinping meets US President on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on November 14. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The Xi-Biden meeting may be taking place on the sidelines of the G20, but Chinese leader Xi Jinping made it clear in his opening remarks the world’s most important relationship was the G2 — China and the United States.

“Currently the China-US relationship is in such a situation that we all care a lot about it, because this is not the fundamental interest of our two countries and peoples, and it is not what the international community expects (from) us,” said Xi.

“As leaders of the two major countries we need to chart the right course for the US-China relationship,” he added.

As the world’s two foremost economic and military powers, the US and China are uniquely placed to help combat many of the international community’s most pressing challenges, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the devastation of climate change.

“In this time and age great changes are unfolding in ways like never before, humanity is confronted with unprecedented challenges, the world has come to a crossroads,” said Xi.

“Where to go from here is a question that is not only on our minds, but also on the minds of all countries.”

But the question, however, is to what extent both sides are willing to cast aside their differences to work together to address such challenges.

Biden has said before the meeting that he is not willing to make any fundamental concessions to Xi, and his aides have repeatedly said they don’t expect major breakthroughs.

When asked about China’s expectations for the meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Friday that China “calls for establishing the right way forward for bilateral relations.”

“At the same time, we firmly defend our sovereignty, security and development interests,” he said.

That doesn’t sound like China has much appetite for making concession, either.

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