Biden-Xi Meeting Unlikely To Temper U.S.-China Rivalry
US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have their work cut out for them.
Photo Insert: Since the start of his presidency, Biden has talked to Xi four times by phone or video. Despite the steady downward trajectory of Sino-US ties, their calls have actually been reasonably productive.
Sino-US bilateral ties are the worst they’ve been in decades following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s subsequent military reaction, James Crabtree, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-Asia, wrote in his column for Foreign Policy.
Biden and Xi now look likely to meet in person at the G-20 summit in Indonesia in November. If they will indeed sit down together in just three months, their respective teams will already be thinking of ways to repair the damage.
For that to happen, however, both sides need a clear analysis of why the situation in Taiwan is so unstable—and need to recognize that it is likely to get worse without intervention from the top.
Since the start of his presidency, Biden has talked to Xi four times by phone or video. Despite the steady downward trajectory of Sino-US ties, their calls have actually been reasonably productive.
Biden talks often about the need to establish “guardrails” for a new period of superpower competition. For his part, Xi harbors long-term aims to upturn the existing regional order in Asia. He also warns consistently about China’s red lines over Taiwan.
“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” China’s foreign ministry quoted Xi as saying in their last call in July 2022, referring to China’s worries about Taiwanese independence.
Yet, in the short term at least, Xi also appears to favor stability and continuity in ties with the US. Biden and Xi’s record of apparently cordial relations hints at the possibility that the two leaders could halt the downward slide—at least temporarily.