President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met Wednesday, Nov. 15, morning in what many see as the highlight of the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
The meeting took place at the historic Filoli estate on Canada Road in Woodside. Filoli's website notes that the estate is closed to visitors Monday, Nov. 13, through Wednesday, Nov. 15, while workers "deck the halls for the holidays!" San Mateo County officials announced at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning that Canada Road between Highways 280 and 92 would be closed to all traffic, as would Edgewood Road at 280, until at least 8 p.m.
The public portion of the meeting began shortly after 11:20 a.m. with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seated at Biden's side.
"It's good to see you again. We spent many hours together over the last 10 or 12 years and to host you in the United States is a great pleasure," Biden said at the start of the meeting.
Biden mentioned he hopes to cooperate with Xi and China going forward and thaw the tense relationship between the two nations.
"We've known each other for a long time, we haven't always agreed which is no surprise to anyone," Biden added. "We have to ensure competition does not veer into conflict."
Xi similarly acknowledged the strained relationship while hoping the meeting would lead to cooperation.
"Coming here I thought of your trip to China when I was the vice president of China. We had a meeting; it was 12 years ago. I still remember our interactions vividly. A lot has happened since then," Xi said, mentioning the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recovery.
"The China-U.S. relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world," Xi added.
Xi also said that the world is big enough for the two countries to succeed and said he hoped the two nations would coexist and find a path to get along, believing the future of the bilateral relationship will improve.
According to a White House senior official, the closed meeting will touch on issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and conflicts in the Middle East.
Xi arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, for the high-stakes meeting with Biden during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit taking place in San Francisco this week. Biden flew into San Francisco International Airport Tuesday afternoon.
It's been an eventful couple of years for Filoli, which saw the estate's popular gardens host the long-running PBS series Antiques Roadshow in 2022. The Almanac has reached out to Filoli for comment on hosting the bilateral summit between the two world leaders, but did not get a response by its Wednesday afternoon press deadline.