Biden will hold “frank and direct” talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping


Hong Kong – President Joe Biden was supposed to hold a Summit face to face with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday. The meeting, via videoconference, will be the most significant in the USAChina talks since Mr. Biden took office. The discussion is expected to begin at 7:45 pm Eastern time and is expected to last “several hours” with the aim, according to a senior official in the Biden administration, to keep the lines of communication open between the two largest economies in the world to ensure that “the competition does not lead to conflict “.

Mr. Biden will be “direct and sincere” areas of interest, “the US official said. Those areas likely include China’s record number of raids in the Taiwan air defense zone in the last months; human rights issues in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kongand Beijing’s use of economic coercion and information technology. In progress supply chain problems and commercial rates shouldn’t be a priority during the conversation.

FILE: DAVOS, January 17, 2017 – Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets US Vice President Joe Biden in Davos, Switzerland on January 17, 2017.

Xinhua News Agency

The White House has officially downplayed the likelihood of major political changes or diplomatic breakthroughs, in the midst of bilateral tension that has risen almost to its worst level since the United States and China normalized diplomatic relations in 1979.

Over the weekend, as a prelude to the presidential talks, top diplomats from both countries spoke on the phone. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the importance of “meeting halfway” to ensure a smooth summit, according to the Chinese state agency. Global times. He also warned his counterpart, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that Washington should not support independence for Taiwan.

“The Secretary stressed the United States’ longstanding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and expressed concern regarding [China’s] continued military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, “said US State Department spokesman Ned Price, noting that Blinken had” urged Beijing to engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve Strait issues peacefully and consistent with wishes and the best interests of the people of Taiwan. ”

Mr. Biden is expected to start his discussion with Xi a few hours later by signing its $ 1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill in law – a victory for him and his administration. White House officials believe the timing means Biden will enter the top with a “strong hand” and “well positioned to involve President Xi.”

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But President Biden’s national approval rate dropped to a new low of 41%, according to a survey released on Sunday. With the US midterm elections approaching next year, he will likely hold off any moves that might open him or his fellow Democrats to criticism of being soft on China.

The summit “will mark a turning point in China-US relations, signaling that despite all the differences and difficulties in bilateral relations, the two leaders believe that the two countries can dialogue and dialogue with each other, rather than letting relations go out. control, “Chinese foreign affairs analyst Victor Gao, a professor at Soochow University, told CBS News.

Gao said he hopes direct talks between leaders will serve to “reduce and minimize strategic distrust and prevent strategic miscalculations and improve mutual understanding of each other’s key strategic positions.”

“China and the United States must get along well, for their own benefits and for world peace and stability as a whole,” Gao said. “I believe the virtual summit will bring a collective sigh of relief to humanity.”

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Xi will enter the discussion in one of his strongest internal positions ever.

On Friday, the Communist Party of China, in a meeting of the country’s 370 top leaders, elevated the 68-year-old president to the same status as the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong, of the 1940s, and its supreme leader Deng Xiaoping, who held the presidency in the 1980s. They are the two most powerful Chinese leaders of the past 100 years. Xi’s official rise to their status came through a so-called “historic resolution” – only the third drafted since the Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921.

The resolution glorified Xi’s leadership since he took control in 2012, stating that China has “achieved historic achievements and underwent a historic transformation” with him as president.

Ultimately, the statement puts Xi on the strongest footing possible as he moves towards a year in which many expect to see him vying for an unprecedented third term as president.

Under Deng, China instituted a two-term limit for its presidents as it worked to dismantle the cult of personality that had built around Mao.

But Xi appears to be reporting some of the sectarian fervor around the country’s leader. This time next year, it would be more of a surprise to Chinese citizens and China observers around the world if Xi did. Not continue to build his legacy by continuing his leadership of the country.

Proponents and critics might even agree that, if that happens, it could signal the return of a Chinese emperor – for life and for the 21st century.


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