Biden and Chinese President Xi agree in principle to hold virtual meeting


Washington (CNN)The US and China have reached an agreement in principle for President Joe Biden to hold a virtual meeting with his counterpart Xi Jinping before the end of the year, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

The tentative agreement was one result of an extended, six-hour meeting between Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi. The two men met in Switzerland for talks touching on areas of cooperation and disagreement as tensions between their two countries have spiked in recent days over Taiwan.

Beijing has sent record-breaking numbers of war planes into Taiwan’s airspace over the past week, prompting sharp warnings from Secretary of State Tony Blinken and other senior Biden administration officials about the potential for destabilization and miscalculation.

    The central goal of the meeting, the senior administration official said, was to improve communication between the two global giants and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings, with the thinking that “this intense competition … really requires enhanced diplomacy.” The planned meeting between Biden and Xi, who developed a relationship years ago when they were vice presidents of their countries, will be a significant step toward that goal, the official said.

      “We do have out of today’s conversation an agreement in principle to hold a virtual bilateral meeting between the leaders before the end of the year,” the official said, adding that details such as timing would be worked out in the coming days. “But we use today as a productive step toward a meeting, and again that meeting would really be part of our efforts to responsibly manage competition between our two countries, hoping that it would be very much in the same spirit of the competition today, and open dialogue, honest back and forth.”

        This story is breaking and will be updated.

        CNN’s DJ Judd contributed reporting.