In the first face-to-face meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, the presidents of the most influential countries in the world held talks for more than three hours on issues of relevance to both regional and global countries.
According to international analysts, the tone of the meeting was warmer than expected during the long session. However, the concrete results of the meeting are different than expected.
The most important topics at the meeting were the bilateral relations between the two countries. Xi pointed out that the current relationship with the United States is not what China expects, nor does it match the international community’s expectations.
“China-U.S. interactions should be defined by dialogue and win-win cooperation, not confrontation and zero-sum competition,” he said, according to official reports.
According to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who briefed state-controlled media, Xi also said that “bilateral differences should not be an obstacle to the development of Sino-U.S. relations. Differences should be the driving force for exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. Cooperation requires a good environment and a stable relationship.”
From Washington, they noted that Biden and Xi agreed to “empower key senior officials to maintain communication” and work on areas of potential cooperation, including climate change and global financial, health and food stability.
The face-to-face meeting between Biden and Xi at the G20 marked a breakthrough between the two countries relations, which had been stalled since Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. China, in protest, conducted military exercises in the Strait and cut off all diplomatic relations.
What are Xi Jinping’s real concerns?
According to Chinese state media, “the U.S. is practicing capitalism, China is practicing socialism and the two sides are taking different paths”; “one of the most important things in the China-U.S. relationship is to recognize this difference” rather than “trying to change or even subvert the other side’s system.”
This reflects the Chinese Communist Party’s intentions with the United States; the CCP intends to continue as a communist power and exercise rule over the Chinese people and wants this without hindrance. In a Xinhua article, the U.S. it says is required to engage in relevant “specific actions” that do not attempt to subvert the communist regime.
One of the concerns of the elected secretary of the CCP for the third time, something unprecedented in the party’s history, is to reaffirm the hegemony of the communist regime and its controlling power. A recent video that went viral on social networks clearly shows this point. A conversation Xi had with Canada’s president at the G20 summit in Bali included the Chinese leader saying that Trudeau leaked conversations they had previously had. “Everything we discussed was leaked to the newspapers; that’s not appropriate,” Xi told the Canadian president in the video posted by a CTV reporter on Twitter.
“And that’s not the way the conversation was conducted,” Xi said. “If he is being sincere, we should communicate with mutual respect,” he added. “If not, I’m not so sure how it will turn out.” Xi said, “Let’s create the conditions first.”
Another concern for the Chinese leader is Biden’s influence and how he views Xi. After their meeting, Biden gave a press conference. One of the questions asked by reporters was, “How do you assess Xi Jinping’s current attitude toward the U.S. Did you personally find him more confrontational or more conciliatory and compromising?”
The U.S. President’s response was ambiguous: “I did not find him more confrontational or more conciliatory.”
For this meeting, China and the United States generated a moderate atmosphere, and Biden had no reason to raise the confrontational tone. However, the White House had previously announced strong sanctions against the CCP before the 20th Party Congress, which dealt a blow to the CCP and warned its leaders.
Another vital topic for Biden was North Korea and its threats to the world order. The U.S. president commented that it is difficult to be sure whether the CCP can “control North Korea.” This statement by Biden could suggest that the CCP would be trying to encourage North Korea to launch missiles frequently; at the same time, it should also express that the U.S. no longer expects cooperation from the CCP on the North Korean issue. Biden also said, “We will have to take certain steps to represent ourselves more defensively,” “defend our allies,” and “believe that China will not want North Korea to escalate further.”
With these comments, Biden would hint to the CCP that, to deal with North Korea, the U.S. strengthened its military presence in Northeast Asia with Japan and South Korea. Biden also again emphasized the “fierce competition” with the CCP, which is likely to be interpreted by the CCP as an attempt to “subvert” the communist regime.
Chinese leader calls for technological inclusions
During a November 16 meeting on the transformation to digital economies, Xi called for no more restrictions on technological cooperation among G20 countries.
Recent U.S. sanctions on China’s access to advanced microchip technologies were a major blow to Xi’s master plan to lead the country to technological self-sufficiency.
The European Union also reported that it was considering sanctions on China due to the CCP’s alleged human rights violations against the Uyghurs.
Therefore, if this continues to escalate, China’s technology industry will not advance as much as Xi Jinping wishes. At the G20 summit, the Communist leader had to ask countries not to restrict China further and remind them of the plan presented at the summit in 2016 in Hangzhou to integrate digital technologies.
In a statement after the meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, Xi warned that starting a technology war and pushing for decoupling was “against the principles of the market economy” and “benefits no one.”