In a significant diplomatic move, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet in person after a year, as announced by the White House. The meeting, taking place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in the San Francisco Bay Area, is anticipated to address a range of global issues.
Expected to delve into topics such as the Israel-Hamas conflict, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea’s relations with Russia, Taiwan, Indo-Pacific affairs, human rights, fentanyl, artificial intelligence, and trade relations, the summit is poised to be a crucial diplomatic event. Senior officials from both sides will be actively engaged in discussions that might span hours.
According to an unnamed US official, the talks will be open and comprehensive, leaving no topic untouched. The Biden administration acknowledges the challenges in reshaping or reforming China but recognizes its lasting influence on the world stage.
US officials, advocating for this meeting for almost a year, assert that Beijing has been actively working against US policies globally. The White House confirmed the meeting date, coinciding with the Chinese foreign ministry’s announcement of President Xi’s visit to the United States from November 14 to 17.
This face-to-face dialogue marks the first direct communication between Biden and Xi since November 2022. The diplomatic push follows tensions arising from the US’s interception of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over its airspace in February.
While the summit may yield promises for increased diplomacy, especially on climate, global health, economic stability, and counter-narcotic efforts, substantial progress may be challenging. Both nations see themselves in direct competition, vying for military dominance, economic supremacy, and the favor of second-tier countries.
The potential success of Xi’s visit may face challenges in the historically left-leaning northern California city, known for protests. Despite more than a decade of acquaintance, mutual suspicion and differences persist between Biden and Xi.
Biden, at 80, leads a resilient economy post-Covid, seeking a second term amid domestic concerns. Traditional alliances are being marshaled to counter China in Asia, with Biden expected to affirm US commitments in the Indo-Pacific.
Xi, a decade younger, grapples with economic challenges and is set to test the US amid perceived shifts in its focus on Ukraine and Israel. Biden is anticipated to stress the unchanged commitment to the Indo-Pacific and the security of nations like the Philippines.