Bill Gates meets Xi Jinping as US-China tensions simmer

Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates met China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday as tensions remain high between Washington and Beijing.

Mr Xi told Mr Gates that he was “the first American friend” he had met in Beijing this year, according to Chinese state media.

Mr Gates is the latest high-profile US business leader to visit China since it reopened its borders.

This weekend, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also visit China.

“I often say that the foundation of Sino-US relations is among the people, and we always look to the American people and hope that the two peoples will continue to be friendly,” Mr Xi was reported to have said to Mr Gates.

It was Mr Xi’s first meeting with a foreign business figure in recent years. He stopped travelling abroad in 2020, when China shut its borders during the pandemic. Mr Xi and Mr Gates are last known to have met in 2015.