NEW YORK — Former Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold an “historic” face-to-face conversation via video Tuesday that will allow them to directly communicate on a range of subjects, the United States and China announced late Monday.
“Vice President Biden and President Xi will use their exclusive platform and unprecedented proximity to the world’s two largest economies to advance the U.S.-China relationship while avoiding the gaffes and pitfalls that bogged down the presidents’ last summit in 2015,” a White House statement read.
As a result of the bilateral meeting, it is expected that Beijing and Washington will agree to step up coordination and cooperation on cybersecurity, currency, cyber-theft, the South China Sea and North Korea.
“Today’s announcement marks a new and historic day for our relationship with China,” the White House statement read.
Biden and Xi will first meet face-to-face in Beijing on Tuesday afternoon, before sitting down with other top U.S. and Chinese officials to discuss a host of issues and plans for a future summit, the White House said.
“This visit demonstrates the depth and breadth of our ties with China and the important work we can do together to advance the interests of both countries,” Biden said in a White House statement.
The statement from the White House said the two leaders first planned to participate in a historic roundtable with counterparts from the United States and China but were invited to join a second, two-way discussion instead.
The conversations mark the start of a newly enhanced “Presidential Strategic and Economic Dialogue” between the United States and China, a format that Biden, who currently serves as chairman of the Asia Society Policy Institute, praised in a statement.
He said the U.S. and China should work to “define and raise expectations for this new mechanism” and “stand up for constructive solutions that bring our countries together instead of away from us.”
Biden was once called “America’s best poker player” in his six years as vice president, though he has been much more cautious when it comes to the Trump White House since his retirement in January.
The conversation between the two leaders will follow their private meeting, which will be a series of meetings with Chinese officials to allow them “to explore ways to cooperate on important bilateral and international issues,” Biden’s office said.
The talks were announced a day after Vice President Mike Pence said Beijing was “the single biggest cyber criminal of our time” during a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington think tank on which he serves as vice president.
While China’s behavior in cyberspace has been widely criticized by a raft of government officials on both sides of the Atlantic, Pence slammed Beijing over its two-part long-term plan to monopolize global communications.
The first, “One Belt, One Road,” aims to create a land and sea trading network across Asia, Africa and Europe by building economic roads and rail links through countries with limited infrastructure, including Russia, Belarus and India.
Pence said Beijing would use the second strand of the plan, “One Belt, One Road – Future of Transnational Illicit Finance,” to overtake the U.S. dollar as the international currency, a plan that is illegal in the U.S. and would require a massive change in Chinese law.
The vice president said both strands created a network that “sells freedom, militarizes sovereign waters, and undermines the peaceful order of the global commons.”
China has long insisted that the goals of both projects were to foster trade, but Pence argued that Beijing’s moves through the two schemes meant “China itself would be turning its back on the norms of peaceful international order and we would have to turn them back.”