Biden set to speak with China’s Xi on Thursday

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    Washington — President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to speak by phone on Thursday, a source familiar with the call tells CBS News, their first conversation in roughly four months.

    It was initially unclear whether the call would take place as planned given Mr. Biden’s COVID-19 diagnosis, even as he continued to take calls and meetings virtually. The president tested negative for the virus Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, allowing him to end isolation.

    The call comes amid heightened tensions over Taiwan, with Beijing angry over a potential visit to the island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The two leaders’ conversation also comes as many call for Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods to be eliminated as a way to help alleviate historic inflation.

    Mr. Biden and Xi have spoken multiple times since the president took office. The president and his aides often emphasize how important he thinks it is to have leader-to-leader conversations, rather than to delegate difficult discussions to top deputies and officials.

    On Tuesday, National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said he had no updates on a possible Pelosi trip to Taiwan, and emphasized that there has been no official announcement of a trip yet. He also said he doesn’t expect the topic to be discussed during the president’s call with Xi. 

    Last week, Mr. Biden said U.S. military officials think it’s “not a good idea” for Pelosi to visit Taiwan at the moment. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said it would take “resolute and strong measures” if Pelosi continues with her travel plans. 

    “Well, I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” the president said in response to a question about Pelosi’s reported trip. “But I don’t know what the status of it is.”

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