China’s position and concerns over US policies on Taiwan will likely top the discussion agenda when Chinese President Xi Jinping meets US counterpart Joe Biden during a virtual summit on Tuesday.

Chinese state-controlled media said on Monday that Beijing will ask Washington to “step back” on its policies and statements on the self-ruled and democratic island, which China claims as a breakaway region.

The situation in Afghanistan, bilateral trade, nuclear proliferation and cybersecurity are likely to be discussed during the talks.

Ministry  spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said, “The US should abide by the One-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, the important consensus and political foundation of the two countries,”.

The meeting will be the first one-on-one meeting between Xi and Biden via video link, the first since Biden took office in January. The two leaders have had two phone conversations, in February and September.

“However, the two sides are unlikely to reach any consensus on this question as there is still strong motivation inside the US government to continue playing the Taiwan card, which is seen as one of Washington’s most useful leverages,” Xin Qiang from the Centre for American Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University told the Global Times.

Zhao said Xi and Biden will have a candid and in-depth exchange of views on strategic issues related to the future of China-US relations and important issues of mutual concern.

Reuters quoted experts saying China’s emphasis on Taiwan amid other friction points reflects its reluctance to be drawn into armed conflict with the US unnecessarily, despite its recent words and actions, including sending an unprecedented number of planes into Taiwan’s air defence zone.

Li Mingjiang from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore told Reuters, “Chinese leaders are aware that China has not completed its modernisation and still faces many challenges in its domestic economy”.

In September, Xi had told Biden during a phone conversation that the US’ China policy has resulted in serious difficulties in bilateral ties and runs counter to the fundamental interests of the two countries and the common interests of the world.


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