Biden and Xi have finally Met – Now What? by Joel Wong
By Joel Wong
The world has waited with anticipation for the Biden-Xi summit which finally took place Wednesday, November 13, 2023 at the Filoli historic estates. After the then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last year and the “spy balloon” incident earlier this year, the two world leaders have practically cut off official communication with each other until they finally met on the occasion of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in San Francisco, CA.
It is important to note that since 2018 the two countries are no longer the largest trading partners with each other*. Never-the-less,both economies acknowledge that they cannot afford to decouple from each other.
* In 2022, China’s greatest trading partners were: 1. ASEAN $878.2 billion; 2. EU $847.3 billion; 3. US $759.4 billion; 4. Global South $1 trillion.
In 2023, the biggest US trading partners are: 1. Mexico: $823.5 billion; 2. Canada: $684.6 billion; 3. European Union: $688.3 billion; 4. China: $486.7 billion; 5. Japan: $228.3 billion.
It was Xi Jinping’s first trip in six years to the United States. At the summit, he and President Joe Biden reached agreements covering fentanyl, military communications, environmental concerns and artificial intelligence.
The two leaders also discussed a variety of thorny issues, including the wars in Ukraine and Palestine, the Taiwan issue, climate change, and the global economy. They agreed to work together to address these challenges and to strengthen the relationship between the two superpowers.
Some notable quotes were:
Xi said that “Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed, and one country’s success is an opportunity for the other.”
Biden said that he agreed with Xi and that the two countries need to work together to address global challenges.
Later on the same day, Biden was again quoted to label Xi as a dictator.
My take away from these statements is that while China has accepted that the world is multi-polar and that each country should be allowed to govern according to its own system, Biden is still claiming that the western ‘democracy’ is preferably to China’s ‘autocracy’.
In conclusion, the long anticipated meeting came short of a Kumbaya moment, nevertheless it was a vast improvement over the two world powers not talking to each other!