US and China trade ahead on top – Community News
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US and China trade ahead on top

As Biden, Xi prepares for Tuesday’s virtual meeting, top diplomats from both countries spar over Taiwan

Ahead of Tuesday morning’s virtual summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two countries have made sharp remarks about Taiwan, one of several thorny issues on which either side is unlikely to make much progress.

In a telephone conversation between top US and Chinese diplomats, both sides expressed concern over the other’s stance on Taiwan, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attacking “the wrong words and actions of the US” saying that “any complicity of and support independence forces… would end up being just a boomerang.”

China also struck during a US congressional delegation visit to Taiwan last week, as the People’s Liberation Army conducted more exercises following recent record aerial break-ins in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.

In the phone call, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “concern about the PRCs” [People’s Republic of China’s] ongoing military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan” and “urged Beijing to engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve the problems in the Strait peacefully in a manner consistent with the wishes and interests of the people of Taiwan.”

‘red lines’

However, Mr Xi is expected to reinforce China’s “red lines” on the Taiwan issue at Tuesday’s virtual summit, one of several points of difference on which the two sides are unlikely to reach an agreement.

The measured expectation for the summit is a drop in temperature and an improvement in tone after years of a rancorous relationship marked by a trade war during the Trump administration’s tenure and tensions that persisted this year under the Biden administration, reflecting of an increasingly bipartisan consensus in Washington on China’s approach.

One difference with the new government seems to be a willingness to agree with China on a number of issues, such as climate change, on which the two countries recently announced a new cooperation agreement, although officials have made it clear they still see China as a key strategic challenge. On the other hand, the Biden administration has said it would try to work more effectively with US allies and partners, including with the Quad group, to devise a more coherent approach to China, while also speaking out more. on human rights issues.

common ground

To underline the state of relations, Mr Biden and Mr Xi have had only two phone calls this year, the first shortly after the inauguration. In the second appeal in September, the US president told his counterpart that both sides had to “make sure competition did not turn into conflict” as they face a growing list of differences.

Two months before that call, the Chinese side had presented the US with two “lists” of demands during talks in Tianjin, called a “List of US abuses that must end” and a “List of key individual cases of concern to China”. Among those demands were the unconditional lifting of visa restrictions for Communist Party members and the withdrawal of an extradition request for Meng Wanzhou, the finance director of tech company Huawei, who was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions against Iran. The latter requirement was met and Mrs. Meng was allowed to return to China in October.

Tuesday’s summit could pave the way for other limited agreements, including on reopening consulates closed during the Trump administration and on visas. Fundamental differences remain, however, with Mr Biden likely to echo US concerns about Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong and Mr Xi expected to dismiss them.

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