What they want: Biden and Xi are looking for clarity in an increasingly difficult relationship

by Chloe Baker
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US-China Relations

I see that you provided a news article about the upcoming talks between President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping. Here’s a paraphrased and expanded version of the text:

Title: Biden and Xi Seek Clarity in Challenging Relationship

As President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping prepare to meet for their first talks in a year, they face a myriad of complex issues that continue to strain their relationship. While there is limited optimism that this meeting will yield major breakthroughs, both leaders have distinct goals for the highly anticipated discussions, which will take place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

This meeting comes in the wake of a turbulent year for the world’s two largest economies, marked by disagreements over export controls, tensions regarding Taiwan, involvement in conflicts in the Middle East and Europe, and more.

President Biden’s Objectives:

The White House has emphasized that the U.S.-China relationship has evolved beyond expecting a laundry list of announcements and agreements from such meetings. Instead, President Biden’s primary focus is on managing the intensifying economic competition between the two nations and maintaining open lines of communication to prevent misunderstandings that could potentially escalate into direct conflict.

President Biden is expected to defend the U.S. expansion of export controls on semiconductor chips while reassuring President Xi that the U.S. does not seek to engage in an economic war with China. The U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, has stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy economic relationship that benefits both countries.

Furthermore, the Biden administration aims to reestablish military-to-military communications, which had largely ceased following a visit to Taiwan by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August 2022. This visit was the first by a U.S. House speaker to Taiwan in decades, and it strained relations with Beijing. President Biden sees the resumption of these military ties as vital to U.S. national security.

The U.S. administration is also keen to convey that it does not seek to alter the status quo in Taiwan. Although Washington recognizes Beijing as the legitimate government of China, it refrains from having diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, China interprets any U.S. contact with Taiwan as support for the island’s de facto independence, a matter of great concern as Taiwan prepares for presidential elections.

Additionally, President Biden is expected to urge President Xi to use China’s influence over Iran to prevent actions that could exacerbate the Israel-Hamas conflict. The U.S. views China, a significant buyer of Iranian oil, as having substantial leverage over Iran, a major supporter of Hamas.

Lastly, with the U.S. presidential election looming, President Biden will firmly express that Chinese interference in the election process will not be tolerated. Experts warn of the possibility of Beijing attempting to sow discord within the U.S., especially in areas with a substantial Chinese American voter population.

Xi Jinping’s Expectations:

President Xi seeks assurances from President Biden on several key issues. Firstly, he wants reassurance that the U.S. will not support Taiwan’s independence, initiate a new cold war, or hinder China’s economic growth.

In a diplomatic context, China has made it clear that President Xi expects the two countries to uphold what was agreed upon during their meeting in Bali, Indonesia, at the Group of 20 summit last November. The relationship had seen little stabilization since then, with incidents like the U.S. shooting down a Chinese spy balloon in February further straining relations.

Central to China’s demands is a strong stance from the U.S. opposing Taiwan’s independence, a matter President Xi considers crucial to the China-U.S. relationship.

President Xi advocates for a relationship based on dialogue and cooperation rather than confrontation and zero-sum competition. This is a response to the Biden administration’s view that the two nations should compete vigorously without seeking conflict. China has expressed discontent with U.S. export controls and other measures it perceives as efforts to hinder its economic growth.

Zhu Feng, an expert, highlights that punitive measures such as tariffs, sanctions, and export restrictions on Chinese goods have become a significant issue for China, impacting its economic development.

China is adamant about avoiding a cold war or geopolitical confrontation, believing that such conflicts impede its progress. Therefore, Xi Jinping will likely seek assurances from President Biden that no new punitive measures will be imposed by the U.S.

Moreover, during his visit to San Francisco, President Xi will aim to instill confidence among American business leaders that China remains a secure destination for investment, as foreign investment is crucial for China’s economic revival. There are concerns about China recording a foreign direct investment deficit in recent months, reflecting potential challenges in attracting and retaining foreign investments.

In conclusion, both President Biden and President Xi have distinct agendas for their upcoming talks, which are essential in navigating the complex and evolving relationship between the United States and China.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about US-China Relations

What are the main objectives of President Biden and President Xi for their upcoming talks?

President Biden’s objectives for the talks include managing economic competition, reopening military-to-military communications, assuring China of no intent to decouple economically, addressing Taiwan’s status, urging China to influence Iran on the Israel-Hamas issue, and warning against Chinese interference in the U.S. presidential election.

What does President Xi Jinping expect from President Biden during their meeting?

President Xi seeks assurance that the U.S. will not support Taiwan’s independence, initiate a new cold war, or hinder China’s economic growth. He emphasizes the need to uphold previous agreements and advocates for a cooperative rather than confrontational relationship with the U.S.

What are the concerns surrounding Taiwan in the context of these talks?

Both leaders are concerned about Taiwan’s status. The U.S. wants to prevent any changes to the status quo and has reopened military communications. China insists on opposing Taiwan’s independence and considers it a core issue in China-U.S. relations.

How do these talks relate to economic issues between the U.S. and China?

Economic issues, such as export controls and competition in semiconductor chips, are central to these talks. The U.S. aims to manage economic competition while assuring China of no intention to engage in an economic war.

Why is foreign investment a significant concern for China, and how does President Xi address it?

China recorded a foreign direct investment deficit, which is unusual, and seeks to attract foreign investments. President Xi aims to reassure American business leaders that China remains a safe place for investment during his visit to San Francisco.

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1 comment

SeriousReader88 November 13, 2023 - 1:49 pm

Biden wants economic peace, Xi wants no cold war. Comms r key.


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