Joe Biden, the president of the United States, and Xi Jinping, the leader of China, met during the G-20 summit and discussed important global concerns.
The three-hour meeting’s purpose was to try to mend the leaders’ relationship, which appeared to be going south. Taiwan, commerce, and technology were among the topics that the two nations allegedly addressed. Biden said that he would keep competing with China for investments and global alliances, according to a statement from the White House.
“(They) reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won. And underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” said the White House.
Additionally, dialogues between China and the U.S. have started about debt relief, health difficulties, food security, and climate change. Also announced by the White House was Antony Blinken’s trip to China. However, they chose to stay mum on his planned trip to the Eastern powerhouse. Biden acknowledged the rivalry between the U.S. and China before entering into negotiations with that country.
“As the leaders of our two nations, we share responsibility. In my view, to show that China and the US can manage our differences. And prevent competition from becoming anything nearing conflict. And to find ways to work together on urgent, global issues that require our mutual cooperation,” said Biden.
“In our meeting today, I’m ready to have a candid — as we always did. Have a candid and in-depth exchange of views with you,” Xi answered.
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Biden downplays the meeting
Since then, the White House has expressed little optimism that the summit would result in a material shift in the two countries’ current power dynamics. Instead, experts anticipate that as tensions between the two countries persist, they will instead be open about their true goals.
“He’ll have that opportunity to sit, to be straightforward and direct. And to hear President Xi be straightforward and direct in return,” said Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to Biden.
“Given that China and the U.S. are in a state of near-total rivalry and confrontation, there is not much possibility to anticipate that the major issues can be truly clarified,” said Shi Yinhonh, an international relations professor from Renmin University.
“The Chinese believe the U.S. goal is to keep China down so we can contain it. And the U.S. believes China’s goal is to make the world safer for authoritarian states. And push the U.S. out of Asia and weaken its alliance system,” added Scott Kennedy from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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Drawing the red lines
In Xi’s opinion, to maintain its peaceful relationship with its Western counterpart, China is still willing to work with the U.S. Biden must comply with a number of Xi’s demands, though. Observing China’s political system is one. The second is to avoid China’s territorial claims to other nations, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“I think it’s more, how can we find ways to communicate about those issues where we have deep fundamental differences of perspective or concerns, but we need to be having a continued and ongoing conversation,” said a senior Chinese official.
“I would love to be a fly on the wall to see that conversation. Because I don’t think the U.S. or China has been very precise about its red lines. And I also don’t think either has been very clear about what positive rewards the other side would reap from staying within those red lines,” added Kennedy.
Photo Credit: Alex Brandon