Joe Biden is currently in Bali, Indonesia. He’s not there for a vacation or a bike ride, however.
He’s there to talk to world leaders at the G20 meeting of the world’s most powerful economies.
The most anticipated meeting that Biden will have is with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, however, a meeting which has just wrapped up.
As the war in Ukraine rages on and the world economy goes into freefall, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Biden says he and Xi have had many “useful conversations” over his time in US political leadership but he values the chance to meet face to face for the first time as heads of state.
Saying he “congratulated” Xi on his recent reelection as head of China and basically as its dictator, Biden added various things about all the matters the US and China can work on together.
He wants to keep communication open, he said, adding that “conflict” is what the US and China want to avoid and that they both share “responsibility” for the world’s issues.
The “international community” deserves a united US-China approach to things like climate change, conflict and economic growth.
Biden says he hopes the “honest dialog” he’s always had with Xi can continue.
A readout of the meeting shows that they focused on their talk into nuclear de-escalation and ensuring China is against Russia’s potential use of nukes in Ukraine. They also spoke about the fact that Taiwan is a close US ally and will be protected. China was told to stand down on aggression toward Taiwan as well.
BREAKING: Xi, Biden shake hands in Bali pic.twitter.com/SlcJgB8A2u
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) November 14, 2022
In public comments open to media, Xi responded that it’s the first time they met since the 2017 Davos forum.
Since becoming POTUS, Xi says China has made efforts to keep up good communication with the US government but he also felt that there is a lot America and China can do together.
According to Xi, “eventful” times in China-US relations have led to the two countries understanding each other more and learning “lessons” about the interests and strategies of each other.
History should be the guide for US-China relations going forward.
The current “challenges” facing US-China relations is very important and actually should be avoided because it is not in the interests of Beijing or Washington.
It’s up to Biden and Xi to do more to stabilize the “international community” according to Xi and they should also strengthen the US-China relationship.
— CNN International (@cnni) November 14, 2022
Looking Behind the Rhetoric
Behind all this feel-good rhetoric is a really tense situation.
China is backing Russia in Ukraine, has come out against Western sanctions on Russia and China’s threats against Taiwan.
What’s worse is China’s role in COVID and why they didn’t do more to contain its spread during the initial outbreak.
Biden and Xi may want to act like everything’s fine and they’re making all this precious “progress” but it’s all talk.
We’re lucky that the US is not currently at war with China, and bilateral relations are good. But thinking China has any interest in truly fighting climate change, establishing ties with Taiwan, putting pressure on Russia and North Korea or helping stabilize the world economy is naive.
China cares about China, that’s it. Why doesn’t Biden start caring more about America, too?
This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.