Biden meets Xi Jinping virtually this evening

Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Relations with China, the U.S.’s major economic rival, have become increasingly antagonistic, as NPR White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe reports. Biden has kept Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods in place, although he has taken a more diplomatic stance than the former president, who launched a trade war during his time in office.

But two events have raised the stakes since Biden took office:

  • Earlier this year, the U.S. intelligence community named China as the top national security threat, saying the country is challenging the U.S. economically and militarily and is “pushing to change global norms.” Read more on that from NPR national security correspondent Greg Myre.
  • In September, the U.S. took the rare step of sharing its nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia, in an effort to reorient military focus toward the Indo-Pacific region. The deal will enable its ally Australia to travel further and with more stealth.

Additionally, Biden also plans to sign the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in a ceremony today at the White House, joined by lawmakers from both parties.

Biden has frequently mentioned competition with China as an argument for the bill, which will bolster the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and passenger and freight rail, along with electric vehicles, broadband and the power grid. Here’s what’s in the bill.

It will be the world leaders’ first face-to-face summit. Biden has spoken twice by phone with Xi so far; Xi has not left China since the pandemic.


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