President Biden and President Xi are set to discuss important matters of communication and competition at the APEC Summit, which is taking place this week. The meeting between the two leaders will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday and will serve as an opportunity to ease tensions between the United States and China.
According to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, President Biden believes that face-to-face diplomacy is crucial in managing the complex relationship between the two superpowers. The leaders will delve into key aspects of the U.S.-PRC bilateral relationship, including the importance of maintaining open lines of communication and managing competition in a responsible manner so as to avoid conflicts.
Sullivan emphasized the significance of intense diplomacy in clearing up misperceptions and avoiding surprises. President Biden is entering the summit from a position of strength, with the United States poised to compete effectively both domestically and internationally. The country boasts the strongest recovery and lowest inflation among leading economies.
The United States has specific outcomes in mind for the meeting. They hope to make progress in reestablishing military-to-military ties with China and combatting the trade in fentanyl, which has become a major problem. Last year, China severed military communications with the United States after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, a democratic island that China claims as its own. Relations soured even further when the U.S. shot down a U.S. spy balloon in February.
According to Sullivan, open communication between the militaries is essential to prevent competition from escalating into conflict. He acknowledged that China has been cooperative in previous dialogue on this issue and expressed optimism regarding the potential progress that could be made at the summit.
President Biden and President Xi have known each other for over a decade and have engaged in several conversations since Biden’s inauguration. However, they have only met in person once since then, and Xi has not visited the United States since 2017. Analysts and officials anticipate that the meeting will take place in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and distorted impressions.
In addition to discussing communication and competition, the leaders are expected to address global issues such as the Israel-Hamas conflict, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea’s ties with Russia, Taiwan, human rights, artificial intelligence, and fair trade and economic relations. Sullivan revealed that President Biden will raise the topic of stability in the Middle East and emphasize the importance of de-escalation, a point that should align with China’s interests.
Leaders from the 21-member APEC forum will convene in San Francisco from Wednesday to Friday. Drafting a strong consensus statement may prove challenging due to divisions over the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.
Matt Murray, the senior U.S. official for APEC, expressed the United States’ determination to achieve a robust statement from the leaders. However, analysts note that the existing divisions may hinder this effort. At the summit, President Biden will present his economic vision for the Asia Pacific region and highlight the United States as the primary driver of inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
In conclusion, the meeting between President Biden and President Xi at the APEC Summit holds great significance in managing the relationship between the United States and China. The leaders will discuss crucial aspects such as communication and competition, while also addressing various global issues. The United States aims to make progress in reestablishing military ties with China and combating the fentanyl trade. Both leaders approach the meeting with a level of suspicion and uncertainty. The summit will provide an opportunity for dialogue and cooperation on multiple fronts, with the hope of achieving stability and progress in the Asia Pacific region.