By CHRIS MEGERIAN
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s conversation with China’s Xi Jinping on Thursday morning will be the fifth of their presidencies as the two leaders chart the future of their complicated relationship at a time of simmering tensions.
The White House said the call will take place at 8:30 a.m. EDT and that it would provide a readout afterward.
The latest strain has been House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan, an island that governs itself but which China considers part of its territory. Beijing has said it would view such a trip as a provocation.
John Kirby, a U.S. national security spokesman, said Wednesday that it was important for Biden and Xi to regularly touch base.
“The president wants to make sure that the lines of communication with President Xi remain open because they need to,” Kirby told reporters at a White House briefing. “There are issues where we can cooperate with China on, and there are issues where obviously there are friction and tension.”
Biden and Xi last spoke in March, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“This is one of the most consequential bilateral relationships in the world today, with ramifications well beyond both individual countries,” Kirby said.
Kirby listed a number of areas of U.S,-China friction that he said would be part of the conversation, including “tensions over Taiwan, tensions over … China’s aggressive course of behavior in the Indo-Pacific outside of Taiwan, tensions in the economic relationship” and over China’s reaction to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
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