U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday his goal during talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week is to resume normal communications between the two superpowers, including military-to-military contacts.
Speaking to reporters after remarks on climate change at the White House, Biden said he is trying to alter the U.S. relationship with China for the better, after a period of strained ties.
Biden and Xi are to meet on Wednesday in the San Francisco area during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. It will be only the second in-person meeting between the two leaders since Biden took office in January 2021.
Asked how he would measure success at his highly anticipated summit talks with Xi, Biden said before departing for San Francisco:
“To get back on a normal course, corresponding and being able to pick up the phone and talk to one another in a crisis, and being able to make sure that our militaries still have contact with one another.”
Biden said it would benefit all if the average citizen in China had a decent-paying job.
The Chinese severed military-to-military contacts with the United States in a fit of pique after then-House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022.
Restoring the contacts is a top U.S. goal to avoid miscalculations between the two militaries.
Relations between the two countries grew frosty after Biden ordered the shooting down in February of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States.
But top Biden administration officials have since visited Beijing and met with their counterparts to rebuild communications and trust.