Biden and Xi meet in first summit in a year

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping began their first face-to-face meeting in a year Wednesday, seeking to reestablish a “normal course of corresponding” ahead of crucial elections in Taiwan and the U.S. next year.

Biden received Xi at the Filoli Estate, an historic country house surrounded by lavish gardens and a 654-acre wooded setting some 45 kilometers south of San Francisco. The U.S. leader stood outside the door as Xi’s limousine arrived. They shook with both hands while smiling, before walking into the house.

“It’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication. We have to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict,” Biden told Xi at the opening session.

Xi said, “The China-U.S. relationship, which is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, should be perceived and envisioned in the broad context of the accelerating global transformations unseen in a century.”

“Turning their back on each other is not an option,” for two large countries such as the U.S. and China, the Chinese leader added, saying it is “unrealistic for one side to remodel the other.”

Xi said conflict and confrontation has “unbearable consequences” for both sides.

While Biden defined the relationship as one of competition, Xi countered by saying, “I’m still of the view that major country competition is not the prevailing trend of current times and cannot solve the problems facing China and the United States or the world. Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed and one country’s success is an opportunity for the other.”

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