SAN FRANCISCO — President Joe Biden met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping on Wednesday in the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders amid rising tensions between the two countries.
The two men meet in Woodside, California, where the men are taking part in separate summit meetings of Asian-Pacific nations.
Following their meeting, Biden said the ‘real progress’ was made and emphasized the importance of mutual understanding between the leaders.
“There are critical global challenges that demand our joint leadership,” Biden posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.
When the two leaders past reporters, who shouted questions about how the meeting went, Biden flashed a smile and gave a thumbs up. “Very well,” he would answer.
After posing for photos, Biden and Xi made their way inside the Filoli estate. Biden sat between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen while Xi was seated with his delegation.
“I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication,” Biden said in opening remarks prior to the start of the meeting.
“For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option,” Xi said through an interpreter. “It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, and conflicts and confrontation have unbearable consequences for both sides.”
Biden will hold a press conference and attend a reception in San Francisco for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders. Vice President Kamala Harris along with First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentlemen Doug Emhoff will also be in attendance.
The trip also marks Xi’s first visit to the United States since 2017. Tensions have been on high alert since Biden ordered a Chinese spy balloon that flew across the United States in February to be shot down, the Pentagon could not locate anyone in China to contact because Beijing had closed military communications channels.
“It is true that when the Chinese spy balloon went across the United States, we had no way to communicate with the Chinese,” a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday. “That’s not responsible and we hope to at least take some preliminary steps” toward improving communications.