Thursday, Dec 07, 2023

What it looks like when Biden and Xi try to get along

What it looks like when Biden and Xi try to get along

The White House has played up Biden’s friendly history with Xi — but played down expectations over meeting results.

Don’t get your hopes up for a breakthrough between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their landmark meeting Monday. After months of needling and outright threats on both sides, there’s little middle ground for them to find.

Biden has said he plans to press Xi on Taiwan, trade and China’s growing nuclear stockpile when they meet on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Indonesia, and he stressed that he’s “not willing to make any fundamental concessions.” The Chinese government is equally unyielding. “We will firmly defend our sovereignty, security and development interests,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Friday.

White House officials have downplayed expectations for the meeting, one that is not expected to produce many deliverables. There are no plans for the two leaders to appear at a customary news conference after the summit, per officials, and even a post-meeting joint statement is unlikely.

The administration’s stated objective of using the meeting to “build a floor for the relationship” is a candid admission of how dire that relationship is.

“It’s two governments which are equally aggrieved with each other and in a contest to see which side is more self-righteous,” said Chas Freeman, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

And with Biden and Xi both recently emboldened at home — Biden by midterm election results and Xi by his ascension last month to a third term as China’s paramount leader — neither leader has much reason to stand down.

President Joe Biden meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Still, the administration says it has a secret weapon to defang bilateral tensions: a personal relationship with Xi that Biden fostered while he was vice president. Biden boasted last week that he had spent upwards of 78 hours with Xi and repeated his much-debunked assertion that the two leaders had traveled a total of “17,000 miles” together.

The administration is putting a lot of faith in that personal history. Biden has insisted that the face-to-face meeting with Xi — his first as president — can help them tackle “red lines” issues.

“There’s no substitute for leader-to-leader engagement… and that’s particularly true when it comes to the PRC, because there is no one else in their system who can really communicate authoritatively other than Xi Jinping,” said Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, aboard Air Force One on Saturday en route to an Asian states summit in Cambodia that was Biden’s stop before the G-20.

“Having the two presidents actually be able to sit face-to-face, and not face-to-face with a video screen between them,” Sullivan said, “it just takes the conversation to a different level strategically and allows the leaders to explore in deeper detail what each of them see in terms of their intentions and priorities.”

At this point, the fact the meeting is happening at all is being sold as a win. But the face-to-face is just as likely to highlight the growing gulf between two countries that used to believe they could cooperate at least on global crises and trade. Despite four phone calls and one virtual meeting over the past two years, Biden and Xi seem further apart than ever.

In recent months, China has threatened that U.S. support for Taiwan could lead to war; the U.S. has warned of crippling export controls and sanctions if Beijing provides material support for Russia’s war on Ukraine. And Chinese Foreign Ministry officials regularly accuse the U.S. of a massive smear campaign for declaring that China is committing genocide against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

“Their relationship… is one of the few things that the U.S. and China have going for themselves because there isn’t a whole lot that you can point to generate optimism,” said Danny Russel, former assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. But he argued an encounter sandwiched between other meetings on the G-20 sidelines can’t yield meaningful dialogue. “They need time and an environment that allows for discussion that’s not an argument.”

An argument — or rote recitation of existing positions — is likely given Taiwan’s position at the top of the meeting agenda. The two sides have been locked in angry recrimination mode since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island in August. In reprisal, China has suspended cooperation on climate and counternarcotics, and warned the rift could spark conflict. Xi set the tone for his talks with Biden by urging the People’s Liberation Army last week to “strengthen military training in preparation for war.”

Those tense dynamics have played out in the tortuous negotiations to make the meeting happen at all. In mid-October, the Chinese looked like they might back out as they refused to confirm an agenda. Despite that, the White House had expressed quiet confidence that the meeting would happen — believing that Beijing wanted it as much as Washington.

Beijing’s rhetoric has prompted Biden to threaten U.S. military intervention in the event of a Chinese attack on Taiwan and powered bipartisan legislation to bolster the island’s defense capacity.

That rhetoric raises tensions that could fuel potential military confrontation between U.S. and Chinese naval forces in the Indo-Pacific that could have disastrous consequences. White House aides have said that Biden will invoke Ukraine to Xi, first to press Beijing to further isolate Moscow’s faltering war machine — but also as an implicit warning that if China moves on Taiwan, the world will rally around it as it did Kyiv.

Biden and Xi should use their meeting to “try to inject some stability in the relationship… so we don’t have accidents leading to conflict,” argued Winston Lord, former assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Biden will also push Xi to help keep North Korea in check. And he’s asking the leaders of Japan and South Korea — both of whom he is meeting with Sunday — for agenda items to bring to Xi.

“One thing that the president certainly wants to do with our closest allies is preview what he intends to do and also ask the leaders of the ROK and Japan, ‘What would you like me to raise? What do you want me to go in with?’’’ Sullivan said. “That’s the kind of style that he takes to his engagement with China.”

But Biden and Xi’s discussion of U.S.-China trade disputes is also likely to hit a brick wall. The Biden administration has maintained Trump-era tariffs on more than $350 billion worth of Chinese goods due to alleged unfair trade practices. And last month Biden imposed export restrictions to choke off Beijing’s supply of microchips used in advanced computing and military applications.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded by accusing the U.S. of pursuing a policy of “containment and suppression against China.” Beijing now views the U.S. as conducting a “quasi-war…to prevent China from advancing economically and technologically,” said Freeman, the former Beijing-based diplomat.

Recent history also suggests that Biden won’t have much luck urging Xi to slow the rapid expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal. Last year, the two leaders agreed to have bilateral talks about China’s nukes. But Qin Gang — the China ambassador to the U.S. — later insisted during a media briefing that the U.S. was the one that had to “ax its nuclear arsenal.”

Despite the challenges to substantive results from next week’s meeting alongside Bali’s beautiful beaches, both leaders have an interest in projecting the optics of positive engagement. That allows them to message to diplomatic allies unnerved by the rancor pervading U.S.-China ties that they remain open to improving the relationship.

Southeast Asian countries “would see it as a really good sign that despite some tensions over Taiwan and some tough rhetoric from both capitals, that the leaders are intent on maintaining a dialogue,” said Scot Marciel, a former principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific at the State Department, who talks regularly to regional officials.

The most valuable possible result of the meeting may be a mutual recognition that U.S.-China relations are now so frayed that nothing less than a formal full-day summit is required to stop the downward slide in ties and approach possible compromises. Sullivan on Saturday hinted that this Biden-Xi meeting would not be the last.

“It may serve as a springboard for the two leaders to decide that they really do need to sit down, roll up their sleeves, push the folder with all their talking points off to the side, and have the kind of serious conversations that might lead to some sort of reframing of their relationship,” said Russel, who is also vice president for international security and diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute.


Oh ya 1 year ago
Find the video of Xi and Biden shaking hands at the beginning of the meeting, as soon as they finish watch the face of Xi. He knows exactly he is dealing with a idiot


Related Articles

Venezuela Steps Up Claim on Guyana's Essequibo Region
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
Swedish Embassy in Baghdad Engulfed in Flames Amidst a Firestorm of Protests
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
An Ominous Shift in Warfare: Western Powers Risk War Crimes and Violate International Norms with Cluster Bomb Supply to Ukraine
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution