During their meeting at the G-20, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed important global concerns.
The leaders met for three hours to repair their ostensibly worsening friendship. According to reports, the two superpowers talked about Taiwan, commerce, and technology. Biden said he would continue to compete with China in terms of investments and global alliances, according to a statement from the White House.
“(They) reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won. And underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” said the White House.
Additionally, discussions between China and the US have started about debt relief, food security, health difficulties, and climate change. The White House also announced the visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. However, on the date of his visit to the Eastern powerhouse, they stayed mum. Biden acknowledged the rivalry between the United States and China before entering the discussion with China.
“As the leaders of our two nations, we share responsibility. In my view, to show that China and the US can manage our differences. And prevent competition from becoming anything nearing conflict. And to find ways to work together on urgent, global issues that require our mutual cooperation,” said Biden.
“In our meeting today, I’m ready to have a candid — as we always did. Have a candid and in-depth exchange of views with you,” Xi answered.
Biden and his low confidence
Since then, the White House has expressed little optimism that the meeting will significantly alter the current balance of power between the two countries. Instead, analysts expect that as tensions between the two countries persist, they will be open about their actual goals.
“He’ll have that opportunity to sit, to be straightforward and direct. And to hear President Xi be straightforward and direct in return,” said Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to Biden.
“Given that China and the U.S. are in a state of near-total rivalry and confrontation, there is not much possibility to anticipate that the major issues can be truly clarified,” said Shi Yinhonh, an international relations professor from Renmin University.
“The Chinese believe the U.S. goal is to keep China down so we can contain it. And the U.S. believes China’s goal is to make the world safer for authoritarian states. And push the U.S. out of Asia and weaken its alliance system,” added Scott Kennedy from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Marking the lines
To maintain its peaceful relationship with its Western counterpart, China, according to Xi, is still eager to work with the US. But Xi makes several requests of Biden. Respecting China’s political system is one of them. And two, avoiding China’s territorial claims over several nations, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“I think it’s more, how can we find ways to communicate about those issues where we have deep fundamental differences of perspective or concerns, but we need to be having a continued and ongoing conversation,” said a senior Chinese official.
“I would love to be a fly on the wall to see that conversation. Because I don’t think the U.S. or China has been very precise about its red lines. And I also don’t think either has been very clear about what positive rewards the other side would reap from staying within those red lines,” added Kennedy.