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Joe Biden, Xi Jinping to hold virtual summit this year: US officials

WASHINGTON – US president Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to meet for a virtual summit this year, in the first move of improving relations between the two sides.

Reports in international media quoting US officials cited that two world leaders will hold a virtual summit as both sides boost diplomacy amid rising tension. US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and Chinese foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, reached an agreement in Switzerland to hold the summit.

The US officials said, “We do have, out of today’s meeting, an agreement in principle to hold a virtual bilateral meeting between the leaders before the end of the year”.

It further added that both sides had more productive exchanges than in previous high-level meetings, including Antony Blinken, and Wang Yi’s meeting. “Today really involved a genuine back and forth, which was quite welcome, a different tone than Anchorage, a different kind of feel in the ability to go back and forth than in Anchorage,” it further added.

Chinese authorities said the talks were ‘candid and constructive’, as both sides had agreed to take action to ‘strengthen strategic communication’, besides ‘avoiding conflict and confrontation’.

US president reportedly suggested an in-person meeting, while the Chinese premier did not express a willingness to meet at that time as he hasn’t left his home country in the Covid pandemic.

It also added that US officials had raised US concerns about the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, the persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and Chinese military activity around Taiwan.

“The US needs to sincerely respect China’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” Chinese foreign ministry quoting officials said.

Amid the rising tensions, China has stepped up cross-strait activities this year in Taiwan, with the number of recorded incidents while the US condemned China’s military actions in Taiwan’s air defense zone by calling it ‘provocative’ and ‘destablising’.

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