Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to Meet on Sidelines of Apec Summit

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to Meet on Sidelines of Apec Summit – Joe Biden, the President of the United States, is set to engage in a face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time in a year, as announced by the White House. This high-stakes diplomatic encounter, occurring on Wednesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in the San Francisco Bay Area, aims to alleviate tensions between the two global superpowers. The interaction, closely monitored, may extend for hours and involve teams of officials from both Beijing and Washington. 

Senior officials from the Biden administration have indicated that the anticipated meeting is poised to address a spectrum of global issues. These include the Israel-Hamas conflict, Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, North Korea’s connections with Russia, concerns regarding Taiwan, developments in the Indo-Pacific region, human rights, the fentanyl issue, artificial intelligence, and the pursuit of “fair” trade and economic relations.

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“Nothing will be held back; everything is on the table,” according to one US official, who declined to be named, in a briefing with reporters. “We’re clear-eyed about this. We know efforts to shape or reform China over several decades have failed. But we expect China to be around and to be a major player on the world stage for the rest of our lifetimes.” For nearly a year, US officials, persistent in their efforts, have sought a meeting amid the belief that Beijing is actively working to undermine US policies globally. 

The White House officially confirmed the meeting on Friday, while the Chinese foreign ministry announced that Xi is scheduled to visit the United States from November 14 to 17, participating in the Apec summit and engaging in talks with Biden. This encounter marks the first direct communication between Biden and Xi since November 2022, following a diplomatic initiative by the US president’s team to mend strained relations, triggered by the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon in US airspace in February.

Anticipated outcomes include heightened diplomatic efforts, with commitments to engage in discussions on crucial topics such as climate, global health, economic stability, counter-narcotics, and potential reopening of military channels post a high-level freeze. Both parties may extend minor goodwill gestures to facilitate dialogue, though substantial progress is anticipated to be challenging. 

The nations perceive themselves as engaged in a direct competition for military supremacy, economic dominance, and the favor of second-tier countries. Despite a history of interactions spanning over a decade, Biden and Xi approach the negotiations with mutual suspicion, unresolved grievances, and unclear perceptions of each other’s objectives. Among other sensitive topics, Biden is expected to raise Chinese “influence operations” in foreign elections and the status of US citizens that Washington believes are wrongly detained in China.

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Biden oversees an economy that has surpassed expectations post-Covid, though facing domestic unpopularity amid concerns about US democracy stability. Despite this, he has rallied traditional allies globally to address challenges like Russia’s actions in Ukraine, despite differing stances on the Israel-Hamas conflict. In Asia, longstanding alliances are being mobilized to deter potential conflicts with China. 

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Xi holds considerable power in China but faces economic challenges. Diplomats anticipate Beijing testing the US in the Indo-Pacific amidst perceived shifts in American focus. Biden is expected to affirm unchanged commitments in the Indo-Pacific, express support for the Philippines’ security, and urge Xi to discourage Iran from expanding Middle East conflicts.

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