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Biden To Meet Xi Jinping At G20 Summit

    Biden To Meet Xi Jinping At G20 Summit
    Updated Nov 11, 2022
    Image credit: wapo

    Facts

    • On Thursday, the White House announced that US Pres. Joe Biden will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. This comes as relations between the world's two largest economies are reportedly at their lowest point in decades.[1]
    • The meeting, scheduled for Monday, will be the first face-to-face encounter between the two leaders since Biden took office in January 2021, and after Xi recently secured an unprecedented third five-year term as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.[2]
    • Biden said Wednesday he would discuss respective "red lines" and "critical national interests" when meeting with Xi. According to the US president, these include areas of conflict such as bilateral tensions over Taiwan, trade issues, and Sino-Russian relations.[3]
    • According to the White House, the meeting between Xi and Biden will also lay the groundwork for future cooperation and competitive relations between the two. The talks are also expected to address North Korea's missile tests and nuclear weapons program.[4]
    • Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing welcomes an improvement in China-US relations. However, Beijing warned Washington not to undermine China's "sovereignty, security, and development interests," and urged the US to adhere to the one-China principle regarding Taiwan.[1]
    • Relations between the US and China hit a new low after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, with Biden repeatedly promising to defend Taipai in the event of a Chinese attack. During NATO's summer summit, members classified China as a "security threat."[5]

    Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    After the Democrats did surprisingly well in the US midterm elections, Biden heads to the G20 summit with fresh momentum as leader of the free world. In his first face-to-face meeting as US president with China's increasingly authoritarian leader, he can also point to some positive economic numbers while China's economic boom has slowed. At the G20 summit, Biden can now make a case for democracy, freedom, and human rights not only in China but worldwide from a position of strength.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    China's "red line" is already known — Taiwan. But there are legitimate doubts about whether Washington is willing to respect the one-China policy and, thus, China's territorial integrity. Since Putin will not attend the G20 summit, the role of mediator between the West, BRICS, and the so-called developing countries falls to China. If the US is serious and enters the talks in a spirit of cooperation and respect, the meeting could be a success.

    Cynical narrative

    Beijing accuses the US of trying to prevent China's rise, while Xi stokes anti-Americanism at home. Biden, in turn, is pushing for economic restrictions on China and provoking Beijing with threats to defend Taiwan. At the G20 summit, the time has come to abandon the path of confrontation and do the right thing — talk to each other. This will not solve bilateral problems, but it's still the best way to avoid miscalculations amid rising tensions between the two nuclear world powers.

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