After months of intense diplomacy, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, announced Oct. 31 that U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Xi Jinping in November when the Chinese leader is expected to visit San Francisco to take part in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The following day in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, somewhat tentatively, that the two countries had “agreed to work together for a meeting between the two heads of state,” adding that, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi had said, “the road to San Francisco cannot rely on autonomous driving,” meaning that there was still work to be done.

Neither spokesperson mentioned Hong Kong, although a Biden-Xi summit was inconceivable without an understanding on the treatment to be accorded by Washington to the city’s chief executive, John Lee, who as leader of an APEC member was entitled to attend the San Francisco meeting but who, as someone sanctioned by Washington, was barred from entering the United States, this year's host.