Biden and Xi meet amid US-China tensions – Community News
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Biden and Xi meet amid US-China tensions

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping made no major breakthroughs during their more than three-hour virtual summit Monday night, but they managed to lower temperatures in a bilateral relationship ravaged by mounting tensions over Taiwan, trade and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

The video meeting was the first opportunity for the two leaders to meet in person since Biden took office. This helped facilitate a “different kind of conversation,” a senior Biden administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, who described discussions as “respectful, and straightforward and open.”

Biden “emphasized that the United States will continue to champion its interests and values,” raising a number of worrying issues, including human rights, trade and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific, according to a White House statement. The two leaders also discussed areas of mutual interest, including health security and climate change; Last week at the major UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, China and the United States agreed to work together on new climate action over the next decade, though neither offered substantive details.

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping made no major breakthroughs during their more than three-hour virtual summit Monday night, but they managed to lower temperatures in a bilateral relationship ravaged by mounting tensions over Taiwan, trade and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

The video meeting was the first opportunity for the two leaders to meet in person since Biden took office. This helped facilitate a “different kind of conversation,” a senior Biden administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, who described discussions as “respectful, and straightforward and open.”

Biden “emphasized that the United States will continue to champion its interests and values,” raising a number of worrying issues, including human rights, trade and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific, according to a White House statement. The two leaders also discussed areas of mutual interest, including health security and climate change; Last week at the major UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, China and the United States agreed to work together on new climate action over the next decade, though neither offered substantive details.

“What really reaffirmed President Xi and President Biden on several points last night was that this relationship must be guided by consistent and regular leader-leader interaction,” Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at an online event hosted by the Brookings Institution. on Tuesday. Sullivan added that leadership dialogue between senior officials from both countries should continue.

At the meeting, Biden also underlined the US commitment to the “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as representing China rather than Taipei, while reiterating Washington’s opposition to Chinese attempts to unilaterally change the status of the self-governed island of Taiwan. change has become a flashpoint in the relationship amid China’s increasingly aggressive military stance in the Taiwan Strait. US officials took to the call hoping to come up with some guardrails to prevent escalation across the island, but the virtual summit turned up nothing on Taiwan, the senior government official said.

An extensive Chinese readout from the meeting appeared to blame Taiwan’s quest for US support for mounting tensions in the strait, warning: “Whoever plays with fire will burn himself.”

One problem that was expected to arise, but did not happen, is the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. The United States has not yet said whether it will send a delegation to the Games amid calls for a boycott of China’s mass detention of Muslims in the Xinjiang region, which the Biden administration says constitutes genocide.

Biden, who dialed in from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, was joined by senior foreign policy assistants, including Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Xi joined the call from the cavernous East Hall in China’s Great Hall of the People, along with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top Communist Party officials.

The virtual summit was not Biden and Xi’s first face-to-face meeting. As vice president ten years ago, Biden traveled with Xi through China at a markedly more optimistic moment in US-China relations. “If we get this relationship right, develop a new model, the possibilities are limitless,” Biden said during a visit to Beijing in 2013. In his opening address on Monday, Xi said he was “very happy to see my old friend.”

The meeting came as both leaders focused on domestic challenges. Biden just signed a bill for $1.2 trillion in infrastructure, but he’s still trying to get a huge bill for social spending. Last week, a Chinese Communist Party plenum issued a “resolution on history” elevating Xi’s status and paving the way for him to run for a third term in office next year. Despite Xi’s consolidated grip on power, experts say Chinese officials are trying to stabilize the international environment as they focus on domestic problems, including skyrocketing energy prices and soaring inflation.