Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stressed that the White House believes the best way to manage competition is through “intense diplomacy,” and said, “It’s going to be a constructive meeting. The president’s looking forward to it.”
Pressed repeatedly on the meeting, Jean-Pierre said she “just confirmed it,” though a White House official later clarified that the press secretary “was speaking to the agreement in principle.”
“We are planning for a constructive meeting between the leaders, but still working together to put those plans into place,” the official said Wednesday, noting that logistical details continue to be worked out.
Biden is traveling to San Francisco on November 14 to host representatives from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies for APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.
The high-stakes meeting comes as the White House is navigating major wars in Ukraine and Israel, and amid growing competition with China as the US has worked to reestablish regular communication with Beijing following months of tension. Biden has frequently framed the battle between the world’s democracies and autocracies as a central issue of his presidency. Other key issues up for discussion include trade and the economy and human rights concerns.
Biden has frequently pressed the importance of face-to-face interactions with world leaders as he seeks to foster improved relations.
US officials have previously stopped short of confirming the Xi-Biden meeting, suggesting preparations were underway but noting that the Chinese government regularly confirms high-level meetings only at the last minute.
Biden and Xi previously met face-to-face in November 2022 for a three-hour talk in Bali, Indonesia, at a G20 Summit, marking a step toward improving a souring –- but critical –- bilateral relationship. Since then, however, tensions have emerged over China’s spy balloon and restrictions on US investments in China.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.