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Analysis Report of Xi Jinping and Joe Biden Meeting: Old rhetoric is repeated on the surface, but deep differences continue

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held bilateral talks in Filoli, California. (November 15, 2023)
U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held bilateral talks in Filoli, California. (November 15, 2023)

U.S. President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a summit on November 15, U.S. time. During the more than 4-hour meeting, the two discussed the resumption of high-level military exchanges and the progress made in curbing fentanyl production, as well as the security of the Taiwan Strait. Each issue expresses its position. Analysts believe that this meeting meets the current needs of Xi Jinping and Xi Jinping, and can at least “stabilize” U.S.-China relations and maintain a situation of fighting without breaking through.

The meeting between Biden and Xi Jinping was held at the Filoli Estate, a country house in San Francisco. In the opening remarks filmed by open media, Biden mentioned that this was the first meeting between the two since the G20 (G20 Summit in Bali) in 2022. ), we meet again after a year and a day.

Biden pointed out that although high-level discussions between the United States and China have been important over the past year on major issues between the two countries and the world, face-to-face discussions between the heads of state are still irreplaceable because it is crucial to ensure that there are no misunderstandings or misunderstandings between the two countries. He also emphasized that competition between the United States and China must be managed responsibly to ensure that competition does not derail and evolve into conflict.

Xi Jinping said that Sino-U.S. relations have never been smooth sailing for more than 50 years, but “it is impossible for such two big countries not to deal with each other, and it is unrealistic to try to change each other.” He said that great power competition cannot solve the problems facing the two countries and the world, and reiterated in his usual tone that “this earth can accommodate China and the United States.”

Chinese netizens applauded Xi after they walked side by side

In addition to the formal talks, Xi and Xi also arranged for a walk and chat in the manor after the meal. Chinese state media captured the scene of them walking side by side, which was quickly reposted on Weibo. Many netizens left messages saying, “We hope that China and the United States will move forward hand in hand” and “win-win cooperation.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning also spoke highly of the results of the “Xi Xi meeting” on Thursday. She said that this “visit to Xi” was a positive, comprehensive, and constructive meeting with strategic significance and far-reaching influence. It is a “big event” in today’s international relations and will surely become “a major event in the history of Sino-US relations.” milestone”.

Wang Hsin-hsien, deputy director of the National Chengchi International Relations Center in Taipei, pointed out that this meeting, from the remarks made on both sides to the polite and thoughtful reception standards, can be said to have met the needs of both the United States and China. In the near future, it is expected to improve U.S.-China relations. Stop falling and stabilize, and maintain a situation of fighting without breaking.

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Wang Xinxian told Voice of America: “He (Xi Jinping) needs to show that he is on an equal footing with the United States and highlight that Xi Jinping’s status is higher than the leaders of other countries (participating in APEC). This is good external and internal propaganda. Then the United States also The election is coming, and he (Biden) needs to show that he has the ability to control China and the global order.”

The White House

stated that the United States and China have resumed military contacts. A statement issued by the White House after the meeting pointed out that the two men had made progress on a number of key issues, including cooperation to combat addictive illegal drugs such as fentanyl and reaffirming their need to negotiate on advanced artificial intelligence. (AI) risks and improve artificial intelligence safety.

U.S. President Biden also announced at a press conference held after the meeting that the two countries would resume direct military contact and return to direct, open and clear communication. Previously, high-level military interactions between the two countries were unilaterally interrupted by China after former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022.

In view of the recent reports of dangerous approaches between U.S. and Chinese military aircraft and ships in the South China Sea and other seas and airspace, resuming military exchanges as soon as possible to avoid miscalculation has always been the goal pursued by the United States. Biden also pointed out that the two sides also agreed to conduct high-level communication. If there is a situation, they can talk directly and each other will answer the call.

Wu Yishan, a consultant at the Malaysian Pacific Research Center, said that the biggest highlight of this visit to Xi is that it has restarted communication channels at all levels between the two countries, which is good news for easing regional tensions.

Hu Yishan told the media: “In the past year, the communication channels between the two countries (the United States and China), especially at this strategic level, seemed to be relatively unsmooth. Therefore, being able to reduce misjudgments and misunderstandings will definitely be beneficial to the peace of the entire world. A significant contribution.”

Wang Zunyan, associate researcher at the National Security Research Institute of the National Defense Security Research Institute in Taipei, said in an email reply to the media that Biden’s words are intended to reduce risks, although whether they can be implemented remains to be seen. But at least his statement can be heard by the international community, especially the relevant government departments of the two countries.

Wang Zunyan said: “The United States used this summit to make it clear that it will continue to defend the stability of the Indo-Pacific. This is a positive trend for the Indo-Pacific region in the context of the still severe situation in Ukraine and the Middle East.”

The United States and China expressed their respective positions on the Taiwan Strait issue

The Taiwan issue was also the focus of the outside world before the meeting. A senior official of the Biden administration who did not want to be named revealed that Xi Jinping denied any plans to use force to attack Taiwan in the near future during the meeting.

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According to reports, when Xi Jinping talked about the US statement that the CCP planned to take military action in 2027 or 2035, he said in a slightly annoyed tone that there was no such plan at all.

The official added that Xi Jinping said Beijing wanted peaceful reunification but also put forward conditions for the possible use of force. Biden responded clearly that the United States’ long-term position is determined to maintain peace and stability, and asked China to respect Taiwan’s presidential election to be held in 2024.

Wang Zunyan analyzed that Xi Jinping denied for the first time that he had a clear plan to attack Taiwan. Regardless of whether it is credible or not, it can at least be observed that Xi Jinping has also noticed the concerns and opposition of the outside world on this issue. He added that Xi Jinping noted that he did not indicate that he would change, which could be heard from his implicit reiteration that he would not give up the use of force against Taiwan.

On November 15, 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping participated in a dinner organized by the American business community in San Francisco, where he delivered a speech.
On November 15, 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping participated in a dinner organized by the American business community in San Francisco, where he delivered a speech.

The business community toasts?

Ker Gibbs, the former president of the Shanghai Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco, said in an interview that compared with the highly charged U.S.-China Alaska Talks in 2021, this visit sent an overall positive signal. In particular, the United States and China agreed to restart military dialogue and hotlines, which is a sign of easing tensions between the two countries that were once on the verge of conflict. Therefore, “the business community should be able to raise a toast tonight.”

Ji Kaiwen said: “The atmosphere (of this meeting) is much better. I think the two countries (follow-up) should be able to restart the dialogue in an all-round way. China’s system is like this. Everyone is waiting for the boss’s signal. I think this should be able to lead to a comprehensive communication, so overall, it is quite a positive development.”

But he also said that the consensus reached this time is a repeat of the same old tune, which represents a “breathing” opportunity for the relationship between the two countries that is at the bottom. Can it really be reversed? It remains to be seen, for example, how effective the two countries’ joint efforts to combat the drug fentanyl will be.

Ji Kaiwen observed that the two countries have not touched on deep differences this time. For example, it is difficult for the United States and China to take a step back on the Taiwan and South China Sea issues. It is also impossible for the United States to relax its export ban and restrictions on China as China expected. Punitive tariffs, therefore, “the economies of the two countries may continue to decouple.” In particular, the deterioration of China’s business environment is the main reason for foreign investment to leave China.

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Ji Kaiwen said: “After this summit, the relationship between the two countries may not deteriorate again, which reassures everyone. However, the underlying differences have not been resolved, which means that decoupling will continue, especially some policies introduced by China actually promote decoupling.”

He said that China’s “Counterespionage Law” and strict “Data Security Law” have prevented foreign companies from operating normally in China or cross-border operations. Foreign companies will not continue to stay in such a deteriorating environment just because of a summit with a good atmosphere. in a business environment.

Shen Dingli, an international relations scholar based in Shanghai, also said in an interview that visiting Xi will bring the relationship between the two countries back on track and reach an agreement in four aspects: anti-drugs, resumption of military dialogue, joint response to climate change and people-to-people exchanges. The promise of cooperation is already a good thing.

Shen Dingli said: “From June 18 (U.S. Secretary of State) Blinken finally came to China to this (Xi Xi meeting) for more than four months, the intensive dialogue between the two sides finally produced some superficial and formal results. In terms of substantive content, the commitment of both parties to work together, these are all good things.”

However, he reminded that there are still many follow-up discussions between the two countries, such as the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu and the Chinese Consulate General in Houston. When will it resume? How can the joint working groups between the two countries on economic and financial aspects promote progress? Even though the two militaries establish an effective emergency liaison mechanism at the theater command level and avoid maritime risks, all pose challenges to the real recovery of relations between the two countries.

Shen Dingli said: “I think there are still many things that can be done. What if we don’t do it? To be honest, the results of this negotiation may be in vain at any time.” He said that the fundamental differences between the two countries in terms of ideology and political and economic systems Differences must be managed, otherwise, conflicts may resurface at any time.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China stated in writing: “Based on the deterioration of U.S.-China relations in recent years, the face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state is a very positive development. I hope that after this first meeting to stabilize U.S.-China relations, there will be more in the future Further discussion.”

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