Biden, Xi seek to ‘manage our differences’ in meeting

NUSA DUA, INDONESIA: President Joe Biden and the President of China Xi Jinping held its first face-to-face meeting on Monday since the US president took office nearly two years ago, aimed at “managing” differences between the superpowers as they compete for global influence amid the increasing economic and security tensions.
Mr. Xi and Mr. Biden shook hands at a luxury resort hotel in Indonesia, where they were attending the G20 Summit of major economies, before they sat down for a tentative conversation. last several hours.
“As leaders of our two nations, in my view, we share the responsibility to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition becomes anything close to conflict and find ways to work together on pressing global issues. that requires our mutual cooperation,” Biden said to open the meeting.
Mr. Xi said he hoped they would “draw the right direction for China-US relations” and that he was prepared for a “frank and in-depth exchange of views” with Mr. Biden.
Both men entered the highly-anticipated meeting with reinforced political positions at home. The victorious Democrats retain control of the US senate, with a chance to boost their ranking by a notch in the Georgia second-round elections next month, while Xi Jinping wins the party’s national congress. Communists awarded a third five-year term in October, a break with tradition.
“We had very little misunderstanding,” Biden told reporters in Cambodia on Sunday, where he attended a meeting of Southeast Asian nations before leaving for Indonesia. “We just have to figure out where the red line is and… what is most important to each of us over the next two years.”
Biden added: “His circumstances have changed, obviously at home.” The president said of his own plight: “I know I’m getting stronger.”
White House aides have repeatedly sought to reduce any notions of conflict between the two nations, stressing that they believe nations can work together to tackle common challenges such as climate change and medical security.
But relations have become more strained under successive US administrations, as differences over economics, trade, human rights and security have come to the fore.
As president, Biden has repeatedly blamed China for its human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities, and its crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. , coercive commercial activities, military provocations against self-ruled Taiwan, and disagreements over Russia’s prosecution of its government. war against Ukraine. Chinese officials have largely refrained from public criticism of the Russia’s Waralthough Beijing has avoided direct assistance, such as supplying weapons.
Taiwan has emerged as one of the most contentious issues between Washington and Beijing. Several times during his presidency, Biden has said that the United States would defend the island – which China has aimed for eventual reunification – in the event of a Beijing-led invasion. But administration officials have always insisted that the US “One China” policy has not changed. That policy recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing for informal ties and defense ties with Taipei, and its “strategic ambiguity” posture as to whether it will respond militarily. if the island is attacked or not.
Tensions flared even higher when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan in August, prompting China to retaliate with military exercises and firing ballistic missiles into the region. nearby sea.
The Biden administration also blocked exports of advanced computer chips to China last month – a national security move aimed at boosting US competition against Beijing. Chinese officials were quick to condemn the restrictions.
And although the two had five phone or video calls during Biden’s presidency, White House officials say those meetings are no substitute for Biden being able to meet Xi in person. That task became even more important after Mr. Xi consolidated his power through the party congress, as lower-ranking Chinese officials were unable or unwilling to speak on behalf of their leader.
Before the meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said that China is committed to peaceful coexistence but will resolutely safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.
“It is important that the United States cooperate with China to properly manage differences, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations, and return China-US relations to the right direction of development,” he said. healthy and stable development,” she told a daily press conference. in Beijing.
Xi has stayed close to home during the global Covid-19 pandemic, where he has enforced a “no Covid” policy with mass closures that have disrupted global supply chains.
He made his first trip outside of China since the start of the pandemic in September with a stop in Kazakhstan and then on to Uzbekistan to join the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Putin and other leaders of the Central Asian security group.
White House officials and their Chinese counterparts spent weeks negotiating the details of the meeting, held at Xi’s hotel with interpreters providing simultaneous interpretation via headsets .
US officials are eager to see how Mr. Xi approaches talks with Biden after cementing his position as unquestionable leader of the state, saying they will wait to assess whether it makes him more or less likely to find areas of cooperation with the United States.
Biden and Xi each brought small delegations into the discussion. U.S. officials expect Xi to bring in newly upgraded government officials and express hope that could lead to more substantive commitments later on.
Prior to his meeting with Xi, Biden held talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the G20 host country, to announce a series of new development initiatives for the archipelago nation, including investments in gas logistics, security and education.
Many of Biden’s conversations and interactions during his three-country tour — which took him to Egypt and Cambodia before setting foot on the island of Bali on Sunday — were intended to prepare him to meet Xi and send a message. signal that the United States will compete in areas where Xi has also worked to expand his country’s influence.
The two men have a history that dates back to when they served as vice presidents of their countries. The US president has stressed that he knows Mr. Xi well and wants to use the meeting to better understand their position.
Biden included references to his conversations with Xi in his speech as he traveled around the US ahead of the November 8 election, using the leader’s preference for autocratic governance. lead China to make its own arguments to voters about why democracy should prevail.
The president’s views have been somewhat validated internationally, with White House aides saying a number of world leaders approached Biden during his time in Cambodia, where he was meeting with European allies. Asia to reassure them of the US commitment to the region in the face of Chinese assertiveness. action — to tell him that they were closely following the outcome of the midterm elections and that the result was a victory for democracy.


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