A Meeting on the Horizon US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have confirmed their intention to engage in talks during the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit slated for next month in San Francisco. This understanding was achieved as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. However, precise details concerning the date, venue, and other logistical aspects remain in discussion.
The Significance of Face-to-Face Dialogue Post these pivotal discussions, the White House acknowledged both nations’ commitment to pursuing an in-person Biden-Xi dialogue at the APEC summit. Additionally, the earlier part of the day witnessed President Biden and Wang Yi engaged in a comprehensive hour-long discourse at the White House. These escalating high-level interactions come at a crucial time when both nations aim to stabilize their strained relations, especially amidst global tensions like those in Ukraine and Israel.
Biden’s Diplomatic Stance Reiterating the need for responsible competition and open communication channels, President Biden emphasized that the US and China should jointly address global challenges. John Kirby, the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, voiced optimism regarding these engagements, emphasizing their significance in fostering continued dialogue.
The Broader Context Biden’s discussion with Wang is perceived as a reciprocal gesture, following Xi’s dialogue with Blinken earlier in the year. The broader question remains if President Xi will attend the APEC summit in San Francisco, taking place between Nov. 11 and Nov. 17.
Contentious Issues Under the Spotlight While Wang’s visit to Washington has enabled multiple dialogues with top US officials, both nations’ contrasting viewpoints on various global events remain evident. US dissatisfaction with China’s stance on Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict were among the significant talking points. The State Department’s spokesperson, Matthew Miller, highlighted the importance of China playing a more active role in ensuring global stability.
Concerns Over Military Movements The ongoing tension between the two superpowers is palpable, with recent incidents like close military aircraft encounters over the South China Sea adding fuel to the fire. Recent videos released by both nations underline these rising tensions, further accentuating the need for constructive dialogues to mitigate potential confrontations.
Taiwan: A Hot-Button Issue Taiwan, which is seen by Beijing as an integral part of China but maintains its autonomy, will undoubtedly be a focal point during Wang’s Washington visit. With Beijing’s assertive stance and Washington’s commitment to Taiwan’s security, the discussions in this area promise to be intensive.
The Historical Backdrop It’s noteworthy that the last in-person meeting between the leaders of these nations took place in 2017, hosted by then-President Donald Trump. The forthcoming Biden-Xi engagement, if it materializes, promises to be a significant step towards stabilizing a relationship that has seen considerable turbulence, from trade disputes to debates over human rights and the pandemic.
Expert Insight Yun Sun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center, underlines the global anticipation for this meeting. “The world needs the U.S. and China to embark on a rational path and stabilize their relationship, providing more certainty for both the region and the international community,” said Sun.