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Biden says he’s’sure’ to see Xi if he attends the G20 meeting in Bali.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he is “sure” he will see Xi Jinping at the coming G20 summit in Indonesia if the U.S. and Chinese leaders both attend, in what would be their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office more than a year and a half ago. 

“If he’s there, I’m sure I’ll see him,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday at a cabinet meeting at the White House. 

The brief comments came as U.S.-China tensions soar over Taiwan, human rights, trade disputes, and other issues, and gave one of the clearest signs in recent weeks that Biden has not ruled out a direct, in-person meeting with his Chinese counterpart even as the two countries’ badly damaged relationship shows few if any signs of improvement. 

Biden and Xi last spoke by phone on July 28 amid already high levels of friction between the two sides. Both leaders said at the time they were committed to meeting in person. 

A senior U.S. administration official said after their call that “a conversation about a face-to-face meeting [was] being worked out” between Washington and Beijing. 

They “discussed the value of meeting face-to-face and agreed to have their teams follow up to find a mutually agreeable time to do so,” the official said. 

Just five days later, antipathy between the world’s two largest economies spiked when U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, and China began days of live-fire military drills around the self-ruled island that analysts likened to an effective blockade. 

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its own territory and has not ruled out the use of force to take it under its control.

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