Biden, Xi agree need for better relations during first high-stakes meeting

AFP - SAUL LOEB

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden met on Monday on the Indonesian island of Bali for highly anticipated talks that come as relations between their countries have fallen to their lowest level in decades.

Holding their first in-person talks since Biden became president, the pair met on the Indonesian island of Bali ahead of a Group of 20 summit on Tuesday that is set to be fraught with tension over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The pair smiled as they shook hands warmly in front of a row of Chinese and US flags in a ballroom at the luxury hotel Mulia on Bali's Nusa Dua bay.

"It's just great to see you," Biden told Xi as he put an arm around him, adding that he was committed to keeping lines of communication open on a personal and government level.

"As the leaders of our two nations, we share responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from ... turning into conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation,” Biden said.

According to a White House statement issued after over three hours of talks between the leaders, Biden and Xi reiterated their opposition to "the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine".

"President Xi pointed out that China is highly concerned about the current situation in Ukraine," Beijing's foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that Chinese officials "support and look forward to a resumption of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine".

'Crossroads'

Beijing claims the self-ruled democratic island as part of its territory, while Taiwan sees itself as separate.


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