“We have made some important progress, and the talks have been very constructive and productive”: This is how Biden summed up in his press conference four hours of face-to-face meeting with Xi at the gates of San Francisco, the first in a year of improved relations. Between the United States and China has fallen to its lowest levels. The goal was to start the ice melting. “To understand each other clearly and make sure that competition does not lead to conflict,” Biden explained after the handshake. And “overcoming differences” in a world that is “big enough for China and the United States to coexist and succeed,” which “cannot turn their backs,” not to mention the backdrop of a global economy that is “recovering but with slow momentum.” Xi echoed this, laden with protectionism, stressing that he believes in a “promising future” for US-China relations.
But if the dialogue resumes, many issues and tensions remain: from Taiwan to economic relations, which are undermined for China by US sanctions and restrictions on high-tech exports, and for Washington by the lack of equal competitive conditions.
Moreover, in a diplomatically inappropriate response of the moment, Biden once again publicly described Xi Jinping as a “dictator,” meaning at the head of a “communist” country — as he tried to clarify the nuance.
But the most important result is the restoration of communications at the highest level, with a direct line between the two leaders in the event of a crisis, as Biden announced in his rare press conference after the summit, the third this year.
The military hotline has also been restarted. A commitment to climate cooperation was also reiterated, although Biden asked Beijing to do more.
Wall versus wall instead in Taiwan. Biden said he reiterated America’s one-China policy but made clear to Xi that the United States expects China not to interfere in Taiwan’s elections. But Beijing’s leader warned that the United States must “take concrete measures to fulfill its commitment not to support Taiwan’s independence, to stop arming it, and to support China’s peaceful reunification,” a goal he described as “unstoppable.”
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