Negotiations between the US and China have not eliminated the main problem of bilateral relations
Although Joe Biden welcomes progress after talks with Xi Jinping, Taiwan still remains a stumbling block between Washington and Beijing. Western media note. And the Chinese Foreign Ministry's report on the summit was mixed, saying Chinese President Xiz took a hard line by ordering Biden to stop arming Taipei.
US President Joe Biden said his summit with Xi Jinping brought significant progress, including agreements to curb drug trafficking, restore military lines of communication and start conversations about the global risks posed by artificial intelligence.
However, The Guardian writes, it became clear that after more than four hours of negotiations at a mansion outside San Francisco, the meeting did not bring the US and China one iota closer on the issue of the fate of Taiwan, which Xi Jinping reportedly called Biden's “biggest and a potentially dangerous problem in US-China relations.”
Moreover, Biden himself risked upending some of the agreements at the summit, the first in a year between the two leaders, with his unexpected answer to a reporter’s question at the end of the press conference. in which he confirmed that he still views Xi Jinping as a dictator.
“Look, this is so,” said the US President. “He's a dictator in the sense that he's a guy who runs a country that is a communist country based on a completely different form of government than ours.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry report the summit was also controversial, saying Xi Jinping had taken a tough stance, particularly on Taiwan. “The US side must… stop arming Taiwan and support the peaceful reunification of China,” Xi told Biden, according to Beijing. “China will carry out reunification, and this cannot be stopped.”
Beyond his off-the-cuff “dictator” comment, Biden was largely upbeat about the meeting, noting that the two leaders have known each other for a long time but that the meeting was “one of the most constructive and productive we've had.”
< “I think we've made some important progress,” Biden said, pointing to a Chinese agreement to curb trafficking in precursors and production equipment used to make the drug fentanyl, which has become the leading cause of death in Americans ages 18 to 49.
Biden said restoring contacts between the U.S. and Chinese militaries has become “critical” to reducing the number of accidents and dangerous miscalculations. And he said the start of talks on artificial intelligence and security represented “tangible steps in the right direction to define what is dangerous and what is acceptable.”
A senior US official said that compared with the last meeting between the two leaders in Bali a year and a day earlier, in the immediate aftermath of the Covid pandemic, there was now “a lot more give and take. They sat across from each other, just six or seven feet away, and could reach across the table. You could see the expression on the other person's face.”
“President Biden did not throw any punches,” the official added. “He was respectful, but very clear.”
Before the talks began, Xi Jinping said: “Planet Earth is big enough for two countries to succeed.”
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Xi Jinping made it clear to Biden that Beijing is unhappy with US sanctions on high technology.
“US actions against China regarding export controls, investment screening and unilateral sanctions seriously harm legitimate interests China, Xi Jinping reportedly said. “The suppression of Chinese science and technology is holding back China’s qualitative development and depriving the Chinese people of their right to development.”
However, according to a senior US administration official: “President Xi has made it very clear in his conversations that he certainly wants to stabilize relations with the United States at this time. He has also demonstrated quite clearly a deep knowledge of some of the debates about China in the United States, and I think in some respects he is quite sensitive to some of these discussions.”
At one point in the talks, Biden and Xi Jinping walked together on the grounds of the Filoli estate, located 50 kilometers south of San Francisco, and there was at least one moment of humor. Biden wished Xi Jinping's wife, Peng Liyuan, a happy birthday because they share the same birthday, November 20. Xi Jinping admitted he was embarrassed because he had been working so hard that he forgot his wife's birthday was next week, and thanked Biden for the reminder.
Biden said after the summit that he understood the two countries were in a competitive relationship, but he was committed to managing competition responsibly “so it doesn't escalate into conflict” and finding agreement where their interests align, as in the case of fentanyl. Biden said the flow of processed fentanyl from China to the West was stopped several years ago, but the trade in raw materials for the drug continued.
“Today, with this new understanding, we are taking action to significantly reduce the flow of precursor chemicals and pill presses from China into the Western Hemisphere,” Biden said. “This will save lives, and I appreciate President Xi Jinping's commitment to this issue.”
Speaking of restoring military contacts, Biden said: “We are returning to direct, open, clear communication.”
After a complete absence of such contact for several years, a senior US official said Chinese governments agreed on Wednesday to three levels of communication.
Over the next “few weeks,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet with his Chinese counterpart once a new Chinese defense chief is appointed. Senior military commanders will deal with operational issues and issues of military practice, and at a lower level there will be operational interaction between ship captains and other officers.
Speaking about upcoming discussions on AI, the US official admitted that the talks were about “early stage mechanisms” and were far from any joint statements. “This is a process that will require greater engagement,” the official said.
Biden acknowledged that he had not reached an agreement with the Chinese president on the fate of US citizens detained by China or facing travel bans. And it was also clear that there had been no progress on Taiwan after what US officials called a “substantial exchange of views” over the island.
“I think President Xi has made clear the continuing concerns, emphasized that this is the biggest, most potentially dangerous problem in the US-China relationship,” a senior US official said. Xi Jinping reportedly insisted that Beijing prioritized peaceful reunification, “but then immediately moved to conditions under which the potential use of force could be used.”
“I think President Biden responded very clearly.” “that the long-standing position of the United States is determination to maintain peace and stability, that we believe in the status quo and that we have asked the Chinese to respect Taiwan's election process,” the official said. According to the American version, Xi Jinping responded by saying: “Look, peace is all well and good, but at some point we need to move towards a settlement more generally.”
Xi Jinping said he had seen the reports and assessments in the US that China planned to take military action by a certain year, and expressed “irritation” at such reports, insisting that there were no such plans and that no one in the Chinese system had spoken to him about them.