President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping are set to hold talks aimed at stabilizing relations between the United States and China. As the two leaders meet in San Francisco, tensions between the two powers are at their lowest point in four decades.
With concerns looming over Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election, the leaders will attempt to manage the competition and maintain open communication channels, while acknowledging the challenges ahead.
Efforts to Stabilize Relations:
After a suspected Chinese spy balloon incident in 2020 disrupted their previous attempt at dialogue, recent months have seen a resumption of top-level engagement. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Beijing, and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reciprocated with a trip to Washington.
The engagement has been welcomed by the United States, although officials emphasize that the summit is unlikely to produce significant agreements.
The upcoming presidential election in Taiwan adds complexity to the talks. As US and Taiwanese elections are scheduled for next year, 2024 could be a challenging time for US-China relations. The need for top-level communication to prevent further deterioration is emphasized. President Biden aims to reaffirm the “one China” policy while expressing concerns regarding Chinese interference in Taiwan’s election.
Managing a Competitive Relationship:
During their discussions, Biden and Xi will address several issues, including US concerns regarding Chinese military activities in the South China Sea and China’s irritations over export controls aimed at preventing the transfer of US technology to the People’s Liberation Army.
Efforts to reopen military communication channels, crack down on fentanyl exports, and broaden dialogue on artificial intelligence and other technologies are also on the agenda.
Different Stances on Taiwan:
China seeks reassurance that the US will not undermine the one-China policy after visits to Taiwan by American politicians and arms sales to the island. President Xi is expected to deliver a stern message on Taiwan, while Biden is not anticipated to change his position on supporting Taiwanese independence. The focus will likely be on amplifying existing messages and ensuring clarity.
Icy Relations and Economic Considerations:
The decision for Biden and Xi not to have a joint dinner underscores the cool relationship between the two leaders. Xi will participate in a dinner with US business executives in an attempt to assuage concerns over investing in China, given the country’s economic challenges.
The economic situation in China provides incentives for both sides to work towards easing tensions and promoting innovation in technologies affected by trade restrictions.
As the US-China relationship faces numerous challenges, including concerns over Taiwan, both President Biden and President Xi strive to stabilize and manage the competition between their countries. While major agreements are not expected, the talks are essential in preventing further conflict and ensuring open communication channels.
The outcome and future of US-China relations will continue to shape global dynamics and have a significant impact on both countries and the international community at large.