After the midterm elections, U.S. President Joe Biden was buoyed by his strong performance during his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took office in January. It is expected that both leaders will meet in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday ahead of a summit of the Group of 20 that will be overshadowed by the Russian attack on Ukraine, which has further strained relations between the United States and China. Additionally, there are disagreements between the two countries regarding various issues, including North Korea, Taiwan, and trade.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet US President Biden face-to-face for the first time since Biden was elected to the White House. Biden, buoyed by his performance in the midterm elections, is expected to meet Xi Jinping for the first time since he became president. pic.twitter.com/dfhvMDretv
— News Live (@LiveNewsNow6) November 14, 2022
On the reason for his meeting with Xi, Biden assured Asian leaders in Cambodia that the United States would maintain open communication with China to prevent conflict. However, Biden acknowledged that the discussions would be challenging. Reporters noted that President Biden has “always had straightforward discussions” with President Xi, which has prevented the two individuals from making “miscalculations” about their intent. Biden said, “I am well acquainted with him, as I am with him. It is just a matter of identifying our red lines and what is of utmost importance to both nations over the next two years.”
Democrats Retained Control of Senate after Midterms
Biden arrived in Bali Sunday night and announced that the Democrats had to keep control of the Senate following a better-than-expected performance in the midterm elections. Monday, Xi is scheduled to arrive on the Indonesian island after securing an exceptional 3rd term at the Communist Party Congress held last month. Chinese President Xi Jinping has been widely regarded as the most powerful leader in China since Mao Zedong.
Xi has received little coverage of the planned talks in Chinese state media. However, according to reports, he will meet with French leader Emmanuel Macron, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and Argentinean President Alberto Fernandez. Al Jazeera’s Patrick Fok, currently in Beijing, said that China has low expectations, and the most favorable outcome is that the two sides are continuing to communicate.
A deterioration in US-Chinese relations has occurred in recent years over several issues, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, coercive trade practices, and United States technology restrictions. Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House Speaker, traveled to Taiwan in August, escalating tensions further. Following Pelosi’s departure, the Chinese government conducted air and naval drills around the island in response to Beijing’s claim of ownership.
The last time Biden and Xi met in person was during the Obama administration when Biden was vice president. As of January 20, 2021, both leaders have held five telephone or video calls. White House officials have said there is little likelihood of a joint statement coming out of the meeting on Monday. Still, they hope it could lead to a more stable relationship between the world’s largest economies.
What are talks aimed at?
In its communication with the United States, China has indicated that trade and Taiwan would be the primary focus of the discussion. In a statement to the media earlier today, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, urged the Biden administration to abandon its politicization of trade and accept Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan.
The Chinese government also wants Washington to ease restrictions on Chinese access to chips and other U.S. technology and lift tariffs imposed by Republican President Trump in 2019. In addition to these measures, President Biden has imposed restrictions on access to technology that U.S. officials believe can be used to develop weapons.
“Trade issues should no longer be politicized, weaponized, or ideologized in the United States,” Zhao said during a briefing. Politics in the world will also likely be a prominent topic in the meeting, with Biden urging the Xi government to take a more assertive stance towards Russia’s war in Ukraine. Despite Beijing’s abstention from crucial United Nations votes, the Chinese government has largely refrained from condemning the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a statement issued last week, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan declared, “Certainly we believe that all countries are responsible for persuading the Russian government to end this war and leave Ukraine.” Officials say Biden will also urge China to rein in ally North Korea after this year’s unprecedented number of missile tests and expectations that Pyongyang might soon carry out its seventh nuclear test.
G20 Summit Will Officially Open Tuesday
In an emailed statement, Leif-Eric Easley, associate professor of international studies at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, said that Beijing has an important role in encouraging North Korean restraint and incentivizing denuclearization. Despite the little possibility that the Biden-Xi meeting at the G20 will immediately improve cooperation, a multilateral defense of the international order should be the framework for dealing with Pyongyang. The G-20 summit officially starts on Tuesday.
It will be Xi’s second overseas trip since COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan more than three years ago. Since the pandemic outbreak, Putin visited Central Asia for a summit in September; however, he did not attend the dinner or photo opportunity where Putin and other leaders did not wear masks.
The White House press secretary noted that Biden and Xi are expected to discuss “responsibly managing competition,” as well as how to cooperate when our interests align, particularly in the context of transnational challenges affecting the international community, despite China’s military and economic rise. Biden told reporters that he wanted to lay out his red lines, understand what he believed was in China’s critical national interest, understand what he thought was in the United States’ critical national interest, and determine whether they were conflicting.
Then we should know how to resolve the conflict and how to resolve it if it occurs.” The competitive nature of the economy is one of the key components of this process. For example, China appears displeased with the imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods by the United States, whereas the U.S. is accusing Beijing of unfair trade practices.
The president plans to convey in the meeting with Xi that he is prepared for the stiff competition with China. He does not seek confrontation but desires to ensure that the competition is managed responsibly and that the U.S. does not seek conflict. Sullivan told the press on Air Force One while enroute to Bali. Sullivan indicated that their meeting might last for several hours. A White House spokesperson stated that the leaders would also discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine.