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Biden, Xi confirm date for virtual summit

US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the White House says, talks Washington hopes will create some stability amid increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

It is expected to be the leaders’ most extensive meeting under the Biden administration and will follow on from a telephone call between the two on September 9.

Washington and Beijing have been sparring on issues from the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic to China’s expanding nuclear arsenal US officials believe direct engagement with Xi is the best way to prevent ties spiraling toward conflict.

“The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition … as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Beijing is also keen to avoid confrontation as Xi faces a crucial year ahead with China’s hosting of the Winter Olympic Games and a key Communist Party Congress where he looks to secure an unprecedented third term.

China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday the leaders would exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common interests in the summit, which will take place on Tuesday morning in Asia.

The meeting will come after Biden signs a $US1 trillion ($A1.4 trillion) bipartisan infrastructure deal in a big ceremony on Monday to celebrate domestic renewal plans he believes will position the United States to out-compete China.

US officials have played down the possibility of progress on trade, where China is lagging in a commitment to buy $US200 billion more in US goods and services. China has nevertheless continued to push for relief from hundreds of billions of dollars of tariffs imposed under former president Donald Trump.

Biden and Xi outlined competing visions at meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum this week , with Biden stressing the US commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, which Washington says faces increasing Chinese “coercion”, while Xi warned against a return to Cold War tensions.

Climate is a priority for Biden, and China and the United States, the world’s two biggest carbon emitters, unveiled a deal at global talks in Glasgow this week to ramp up co-operation, including by cutting methane emissions, phasing out coal consumption and protecting forests.

However, the superpowers have clashed increasingly over self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own and that Washington is required to provide with the means to defend itself.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken angered China this week when he said Washington and its allies would take unspecified “action” if China were to use force to alter the Taiwan status quo, further muddying the long-held US policy of “strategic ambiguity” as to whether the United States would respond militarily.

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told Blinken in a call on Saturday the United States should not send the wrong signals to Taiwan pro-independence forces, according a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry website.

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