Biden and Xi Meet Amid Military, Economic Disputes
US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are set to discuss a range of contentious issues, including Taiwan, the South China Sea, the Israel-Hamas war, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea, and human rights. The meeting is aimed at easing tension between the two superpowers over varied conflicts. However, with vast differences separating them, deep progress may have to wait.
US-China Meeting: Biden and Xi Jinping Discuss Contentious Issues
US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping meet on Wednesday for the first time in a year to discuss potential solutions for longstanding disagreements between the two global superpowers. Topics include military conflicts, drug-trafficking, and artificial intelligence. However, significant progress may be postponed.
Low expectations have been set for the meeting, with a range of topics including Taiwan, the South China Sea, the Israel-Hamas war, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea, and human rights on the discussion table. The leaders arrived in San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, attended by 21-country group leaders and hundreds of CEOs amidst Chinese economic weakness and territorial disputes.
Biden has opted for direct diplomacy with Xi, leveraging a twelve-year personal relationship with the Chinese leader. In this meeting, Biden is expected to raise concerns over alleged Chinese interference in foreign elections, the status of wrongfully detained U.S. citizens in China, and to propose steps to manage the growth of artificial intelligence technologies, trade, and climate.
Before the meeting, both countries agreed on a new renewable energy target and a plan to reduce methane and plastic pollution, renewing climate cooperation. Biden reassures Xi that U.S. commitments in the Indo-Pacific are firm, addressing concerns over China’s activities in disputed areas such as the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, and East China Sea.
Iran, Election Interference, Fentanyl
Biden plans to urge Xi to use China’s influence to deter Iran from provocative actions that could escalate the Israel-Hamas conflict. Expectations include discussions on reducing the flow of fentanyl, a drug with most of its chemicals originating from China, according to U.S. officials.
Biden, seeking a second term in office, and Xi, a decade younger and with tightened control over policy, state leaders, media, and military in China, have different challenges and ambitions. As such, officials anticipate Beijing to test Washington in the coming weeks, capitalizing on the U.S. focus shift towards Ukraine and Israel while pursuing its Indo-Pacific ambitions.
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