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MNI EXCLUSIVE: China-US Talks May Pave Way For Xi-Biden Meet


A high-level U.S.-China meeting in Alaska could pave the way for a meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden as soon as this year if the U.S. side indicates a willingness to roll back Trump-era measures including tariffs, policy advisors in Beijing told MNI.

China's Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that the country's top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet their U.S. counterparts including Secretary of State Antony Blinken next week. The meeting could see China proposing further opening up of its market to foreign investors in exchange for the U.S. dropping tariffs and sanctions such as restrictions on listings of Chinese securities, the advisors said.

"I think they will talk about a schedule for rolling back [Trump's China policies] for sure. China's attitude has been pretty open regarding discussions on this. But the U.S. should come up with a plan for what it wants," said Lu Xiang, a U.S. expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

A successful meeting could pave the way for a meeting between Xi and Biden as soon as later this year, three advisors told MNI. Others, though, including Lu, cautioned that logistical complications created by the Covid-19 pandemic might mean a meeting this year may be too soon.

Withdrawing Trump-era policies would be essential to "create a favourable" environment for the two leaders to interact, according to one of the advisors, who required anonymity.

"[Tariffs reductions] will remain bargaining chips for the U.S., and the two sides will have rounds of hard negotiations," said Wang Peng, the director of Research Department at Center for International Energy and Environment Strategy Studies of Renmin University.

When Xi and Biden spoke in a phone call in February, the U.S. paused legal action against Chinese Chinese social media app Tiktok and messaging app WeChat, advisors noted, adding that similar gestures could be repeated.

MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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