VP Harris Meets With China’s President Xi To Underscore Importance Of Stable US-China Relations

The VP confirmed the U.S.’ commitment to Indo-Pacific alliances, while condemning North Korea’s latest missile launch.

<p>Chinese President Xi Jinping has a brief exchange with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris at the latter's request on the sidelines of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 19, 2022. DING HAITAO/XINHUA VIA GETTY IMAGES </p>

President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit last week to keep U.S.-China relations on track. Days after their extensive talks, Vice President Kamala Harris met with Xi to follow-up on assurances that the two nations would sustain dialogue.

The two met at the Bangkok Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. 

“I greeted President Xi before the APEC Leaders Retreat,” Harris wrote in a Twitter post Nov. 19:

Today in Bangkok, I greeted President Xi before the APEC Leaders Retreat. I noted a key message that President Biden emphasized in his November 14 meeting with President Xi: we must maintain open lines of communication to responsibly manage the competition between our countries. 

— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) 

Relations between Washington and Beijing have been contentious over several issues — from trade and technology to China’s claims to Taiwan. The U.S. has also been critical of China’s handling of Hong Kong and human rights.

During the APEC meeting, Harris told world leaders the U.S. would center APEC on sustainable economic growth. That builds on Thailand’s success in setting new sustainability goals this year. 

Harris later took part in a ceremony in which Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha handed over the chairmanship of APEC to the U.S., which hosts the group’s meetings in 2023.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (C) prepares to give a ceremonial woven cha-lom to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (L) at the handover ceremony during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok on November 19, 2022. HAIYUN JIANG/POOL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES 

On Friday, Nov. 18, Harris pitched the U.S. as a reliable economic partner, telling a business conference on APEC’s sidelines: “The United States is here to stay.”

A key concern looming over the conference was North Korea.

Harris’ meeting with Xi came after the U.S. said it is looking for China to become more involved in managing its ally, North Korea. 

On Friday, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile that officials said could hit the U.S. mainland. 

Harris immediately convened talks on North Korea’s latest missile launch with the prime ministers of five U.S. partners — Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada and New Zealand — to issue a strong condemnation of North Korea. Harris condemned the missile test as a “brazen violation of multiple U.N. Security resolutions,” per a White House statement

“We strongly condemn these actions, and we again call for North Korea to stop further unlawful, destabilizing acts. On behalf of the United States, I reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our Indo-Pacific alliances,” she said.

U.S President Joe Biden (R) and China’s President Xi Jinping (L) shake hands as they meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on November 14, 2022. SAUL L OEB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES 

However, both Harris and Biden used the meetings with Xi to underscore the importance of stable relations with China. 

Xi told Chinese state broadcaster CCTV the conversation with Biden was strategic and constructive and had crucial guiding significance for the next stage of China-U.S. relations.

“It is hoped that the two sides will further enhance mutual understanding, reduce misunderstanding and misjudgment, and jointly promote China-U.S. relations to return to a healthy and stable track,” he said. 

Produced in association with Benzinga.