Biden to Meet China’s Xi in San Francisco Next Week Amid Tensions

Andrew Thornebrooke
By Andrew Thornebrooke
November 10, 2023China News
Biden to Meet China’s Xi in San Francisco Next Week Amid Tensions
President Joe Biden speaks at Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minn., on Nov. 1, 2023. (Abbie Parr/AP Photo)

President Joe Biden will meet with Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping next week in an effort to stabilize the two nations’ fraught relationship.

The two leaders will discuss a plethora of potentially explosive issues including Chinese election interference, the regime’s growing support for Russia and Iran, and the future of Taiwan, according to senior administration officials.

“We’ve indicated to Chinese interlocutors that basically every element in our bilateral relationship will be on the table for discussion,” one official said during a press call previewing the event.

“I think it’s fair to say we’re going to cover a whole range of topics that are potentially contentious.”

The meeting will take place on Nov. 18 in the San Francisco Bay area. It will be the two leaders’ second in-person meeting during President Biden’s administration.

The Biden administration hopes to assure China that it does not seek conflict, despite a growing number of initiatives intended to insulate the U.S. economy from the communist power’s malign influence.

“We’re clear eyed about this,” one official said. “We know efforts to shape or reform China over several decades have failed. We think diplomacy is how we clear up misperceptions, signal, communicate, avoid surprises, and explain our competitive steps.”

“We are in competition with China. But we do not seek conflict, confrontation, or a new Cold War.”

Biden Will ‘Reaffirm’ Xi on Taiwan

A key issue, and perhaps the only one capable of compelling the world’s two largest economies into war with one another, is the future of Taiwan.

The Taiwan issue looms especially large for the two powers now, as Taiwan enters an election year and may select an administration that is more favorable to China than the United States.

“In every conversation, we’ve had cross-strait issues absolutely come up. If we look towards next year, the Taiwan election, the presidential transition and, of course, our own election, [could] make this quite a bumpy year,” one official said.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, claims that Taiwan is part of its territory. The regime has never controlled the island, however, which is self-governed by its own democratic government and maintains a marketing economy with robust international ties.

The CCP has launched an increasingly large campaign of military intimidation against the island in recent years, sending military vessels and aircraft to test Taiwan’s response and even launching missiles over the island.

For its part, the United States maintains a One China Policy, in which it maintains formal relations with the CCP only, but is bound by legal agreements to furnish Taiwan with the weapons it needs to maintain its self defense, including against China.

Administration officials said that President Biden will try to assuage Mr. Xi’s fears by reassuring the communist leader that the United States does not support Taiwan’s independence.

“We are not supportive of Taiwan independence. That is our long standing policy. And going into this election, I think that will be one issue, of course, that we will try to reaffirm,” one official said.

“Our goal going into the meetings will be to reaffirm, of course, the U.S. One China policy, our focus on maintaining the status quo, our focus on ensuring there’s peace and stability, making clear to the Chinese that any actions or interference in the election would raise extremely strong concerns from our side.”

The officials added that the administration remains “quite concerned” by the CCP’s military activities around Taiwan, which they said were “unprecedented,” “dangerous,” and “provocative.”

US Seeks to ‘Stabilize’ Relationship with China

Global geopolitical concerns will also feature heavily in the discussions with the United States seeking to limit the CCP’s growing support for Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

President Biden has moved to build up an effective regional alliance in the Indo-Pacific in the hopes of pressuring the CCP away from such relationships and deterring conflict in the region.

The president has engaged in a series of high-profile meetings over the last year with leaders from Australia, India, Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea to that end.

Now, the officials said, President Biden hopes to temper U.S.-China relations in a way that is beneficial to the nation’s allies as well.

“We’re looking to stabilize the relationship in ways that support our partners and our alliances and also support the American people,” one official said.

“Our approach is steady and consistent. We’re not stepping back from our interests and values. We’re moving forward on them.”

A key part of that effort will be to reestablish military-to-military communications between China and the United States, which the CCP regime cut off more than two years ago.

“The President has been determined to take the necessary steps to restore what we believe are essential communications between the United States and China on the military side,” one official said.

“When we’re talking about managing risks, about avoiding conflict, this is exactly the sort of communication we need to be having both at senior levels of our two militaries, but also operator to operator.”

In all, the officials said, the Biden administration believes it is in a good position to conduct the talks with China, and that the meeting would open the door to deeper conversations between the two powers on a number of key issues.

“We are for managing the competition responsibly. We’re going into the meeting confident in our overall approach and our position,” one official said.

“This is more than just a [bilateral] on the margins of a multilateral meeting. We’re setting some time aside for the two leaders to sit down and have in-depth conversations on the full range of issues that the U.S. and China face across the globe and bilaterally.”

From The Epoch Times

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