FirstFT: US, China to hold high-level talks in Switzerland

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Senior US and Chinese officials will hold a meeting this week in Switzerland that will include negotiations on a possible virtual summit between President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart.

Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, will meet today with Yang Jiechi, China’s senior foreign policy official, according to three people familiar with the situation. One person said the two sides are moving closer to hosting a virtual summit between the two leaders.

Last month, Biden spoke to Xi on the phone, their second conversation since taking office. He suggested they hold a summit in person, but Xi did not respond and urged the United States to tone down its anti-China rhetoric. Beijing has been playing hard to get in recent months.

A planned visit to China by Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State, nearly collapsed after Beijing initially refused to give him a meeting with Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia – Emily

Five other articles in the news

1. Facebook whistleblower testifies before Congress Facebook has repeatedly chosen to maximize online engagement instead of minimizing damage to users as it struggles to retain staff and young users, Frances Haugen, former Facebook product manager, said yesterday in her report. civic integrity unit, to the Senate Committee on Commerce.

Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen at the Senate hearing on Tuesday © AP

2. China’s real estate sector struggles intensify Debt problems plaguing the Chinese real estate market worsened yesterday after a developer defaulted on its bonds while the world’s most indebted real estate group Evergrande extended the suspension of its shares for a second day without explanation.

3. Singapore law targets “foreign interference” in politics Singapore passed a law prohibiting “foreign interference” which the government said was aimed at preventing threats to national security and sovereignty, but which critics say would have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

4. Japanese stocks suffer a ‘Kishida shock’ Japanese stocks suffered a sell off yesterday as foreign funds and retail investors bet that the country’s new prime minister will step down from efforts to make the world’s third-largest economy more shareholder-friendly. Traders said some investors were frightened by comments from Fumio Kishida that he could push for a capital gains tax increase.

5. China unloads Australian coal despite import ban China has started offloading a small number of Australian coal shipments despite an unofficial import ban, analysts said, highlighting the intensity of the energy crisis facing the world’s second-largest economy.

Line chart of Rmb per metric ton showing thermal coal contract on the Chinese Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange

Coronavirus digest

  • AstraZeneca has sought emergency approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration for its combination antibody therapy to prevent Covid-19.

  • International law firms are launching wellness programs and hiring “burnout counselors” to keep staff, as a transaction boom fuels a war for talent.

  • Johnson & johnson asked U.S. regulators to authorize a booster for its single-use Covid-19 vaccine.

  • PwC ‘Revenue in the Americas was flat last year as the audit firm was hit by a cut in spending by its clients at the start of the pandemic.

Sign up to our Road to Recovery newsletter, an essential guide to doing business and economics in a world transformed by the pandemic.

The day to come

New Zealand Central Bank Meeting The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to raise interest rates for the first time since the start of the pandemic when policymakers meet today. (FX Street)

Tesco Interim Results Tesco’s juggernaut is getting back on its feet, as evidenced by its call for results today. Away from the battle to buy out Wm Morrison, its sales outperformance over competitors was the key story in the first half, according to analysts at HSBC.

Boris Johnson addresses Conservative conference The British Prime Minister addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today. Johnson yesterday denied that the UK is facing an economic crisis.

What else do we read and listen to

Why China is cracking down on crypto Beijing’s crackdown on bitcoin pits the boundless power of an authoritarian government against a key selling point of cryptocurrencies – that the decentralized networks of computers that manage digital currencies take them out of the control of any central authority.

  • Go further: Peter McCormack, bitcoin bull and voice of the hugely popular “What Bitcoin Did” podcast, joins Claer Barrett for a Money Clinic Investing Masterclass. Listen now.

No easy options to facilitate semiconductor compression The Biden administration wants chipmakers to pass inventory data to help identify issues in the supply chain. It is not difficult to see why such drastic action is being considered, given the scale of the disruption. But the intervention of the American government risks being in vain, writes Kathrin Hille.

How environmentally friendly is your electric vehicle? This interactive graphic explores a new generation of vehicles under the hood. They’re simpler, smarter, and quieter. But are they cleaner? The answer might surprise you. This is the last part of our electric vehicle revolution series.

Would you buy an electric vehicle? Do you already have one? Tell us in our latest survey.

Seoul observes allies in US corrals to counter China Intensifying competition between the United States and China is forcing South Korea, a crucial American ally that has long sought to maintain cordial relations with Beijing, to face a delicate choice.

The mysterious decline of our leisure time A puzzle of modern life is that so many of us feel short on time, writes Sarah O’Connor. In the 19th century, unions campaigned for “eight hours of work, eight hours of rest and eight hours for what we want”. They succeeded in their push for shorter working hours. But what happened to all this free time?

Books

Author Jonathan Franzen has always excelled at writing about the tension between inner life and outer behavior. In his new book Crossroads, Frazen paints a vivid portrait of a preacher’s family in the 1970s Midwest and shows the novelist at his best.

Writer Jonathan Franzen, pictured in 2018

Writer Jonathan Franzen, pictured in 2018 © Talia Herman / Guardian / eyevine

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