China’s Biden and Xi Jinping agree to hold a virtual summit

China's Biden and Xi Jinping agree to hold a virtual summit

Both countries just had a prisoner exchange after the Justice Department announced a delayed trial agreement with a top executive of the telecommunications giant Huawei, allowing it to return to China. Within hours, two Americans and two Canadians, long owned by China, were on the plane back home.

It was not clear when the summit would take place. Other officials will participate, as if the meeting had taken place in the United States or China.

However, the decision to hold the summit via secure video stands in stark contrast to the way it is being done, as Biden meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia last June. That meeting, in a villa on a hill in Geneva, was in person.

A senior US official told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting that the two men had a frank, direct and intense conversation. The US official said Mr. Sullivan objected to China’s efforts to link its cooperation to issues in which the two countries have a strong national interest – for example, combating global warming or nuclear proliferation – over US concessions in bilateral disputes.

The official said Sullivan specifically cited climate as an example where reconciling a two-state approach isn’t just a service to the United States. But China often accuses the United States of having similar ties, for example by imposing sanctions on China for human rights abuses, which Beijing considers interference in its internal affairs.

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