President Xi Jinping will meet visiting California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday afternoon in the latest sign the Chinese leader could hold talks with his US counterpart Joe Biden next month.
Ties between China and the US have stabilised in recent months, with expectations rising for Xi and Biden to meet on the sidelines of the Apec summit in San Francisco, California in November.
Newsom also met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday morning, the state leader’s first high-profile meeting after landing in Beijing as part of a controversial China trip focused on climate change.
Newsom and his delegation met China’s top diplomat after they arrived in Beijing, according to state media. The foreign ministry has not yet released a statement on the meeting.
Newsom is the first governor of a US state to visit China since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The trip has provoked resistance from both Democrats and Republicans as tensions over Taiwan, human rights and technological rivalry have ramped up.
He visited the world’s first all-electric municipal bus fleet in Shenzhen the next day, where he also tried an off-road U8 SUV from Chinese carmaker BYD’s Yangwang series.
Newsom then travelled to Guangzhou, where he met Guangdong provincial leaders and agreed to step up exchanges in areas including new energy vehicles, decarbonisation and carbon emissions trading.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Newsom and Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong, according to Guangzhou Daily.
After Newsom’s stay in Beijing, he will travel to the coastal province Jiangsu to visit wind power facilities and wetlands, with his last stop being financial hub Shanghai, where he will tour Tesla’s Gigafactory.
California has the biggest Chinese-American population of any US state, and Newsom’s trip also aimed to promote bilateral economic development and tourism while strengthening cultural ties and combating xenophobia.
He is expected to sign agreements with the provincial leaders of Jiangsu and local officials in Shanghai.