The White House said on Wednesday that a virtual summit between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is being planned for later this year.
The announcement followed a meeting in Zurich between National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. The move comes as tensions between the countries rise over the Biden administration’s demand that Beijing end military pressure on Taiwan and live up to its trade commitments.
In recent days, China has sent about 150 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone, prompting warnings from the Biden administration.
»The activity is destabilizing. It risks miscalculations and has the potential to undermine regional peace and stability, “said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Taipei considers itself independent, but Beijing sees it as a breakaway province. Chinese pressure on Taiwan has become another hotspot in the midst of ongoing tensions in Washington and Beijing.
Timothy Heath, a senior international defense researcher at Rand Corp., said: “While worrying, I do not think the risk of war is high. I do not think the Chinese are interested in provoking a war. Neither is the United States.”
The United States maintains unofficial relations and defense support with Taiwan while maintaining “One China” policy and recognizing Beijing over Taipei – an attitude confirmed during a September phone call with Xi, Biden said earlier this week.
“We agree we want to abide by the Taiwan agreement, that’s where we are and we made it clear that I do not think he should do anything but abide by the agreement.”
But the United States has increased pressure on China, saying it has not complied with a January 2020 deal in which Beijing agreed to buy $ 200 billion more in U.S. goods and services by 2021. The administration maintains $ 350 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods .
Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, said: “We will use the full range of tools we have and develop new tools as needed to defend US economic interests against harmful policies and practices.”
The United States has also supported alliances with Indo-Pacific powers, including Australia, which it will help equip with nuclear-powered submarines under the recent AUKUS agreement. Biden also hosted the leaders of Australia, India and Japan at last month’s Quad Summit.
But Washington has been left out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a massive free trade agreement between 10 Southeast Asian nations and five partners, including China.
It has also been left out of the comprehensive and progressive deal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama administration-backed trade deal that former President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2017.
Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center, said: “It will be increasingly difficult for the United States to maintain our economic benefits in the Indo-Pacific, especially as China has recently applied to join the CPTPP.”