Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
October 25, 2023
Today the world is full of risks, especially with the two on-going regional wars: the proxy war Ukraine and the unfolding Israel-Hamas war, both have dangerous risks. Biden has to manage and control both wars, the US has to cover the bulk of the costs at the same time but, without US boots on the ground, Biden cannot direct these wars.
On the other hand, China is impacted by these two wars, but China’s exposure is rather limited. Of course, Xi alone has to manage the economic recovery for China which is a monumental challenge. However, Biden also have major domestic challenges along with a dysfunctional DC. Of course, Biden is also burdened by his reelection bid next year.
So, it is practical for both the US and China enhance high level contacts and stabilize the bilateral relation. It does not matter whether Biden stands firm or not, there is no expectation that Xi will soften his stands in honor of Biden. It also does not matter much whether Biden and Xi will have a summit next month or not. As long as the US and China do not start any new disputes!
The world needs peace and stability. The US and China must take the responsibility, at least, of getting along and communicating with each other regularly.
China’s top diplomat starts US visit as Biden stands firm
Wed, October 25, 2023 at 6:34 PM PDT
China’s top diplomat opens talks Thursday in Washington as he readies a potential summit between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, who ahead of talks vowed to defend Asian allies.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi is paying a rare high-level to Washington as the world’s two largest economies seek to manage, if not resolve, a host of disputes that repeatedly sent tensions soaring in recent years.
Wang will begin his visit by meeting Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who traveled to Beijing in June and will welcome his counterpart for a closed-door dinner.
On Friday, he will meet at the White House with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. No meeting has been announced with Biden but an encounter is widely expected after Xi received Blinken in Beijing.
Biden has invited Xi to visit San Francisco next month for a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in what would be the leaders’ first meeting in a year.
US officials have repeatedly spoken of creating “guardrails” to prevent worst-case scenarios and have sought, without success, to restore contact between the two militaries, even as the powers disagree strongly on issues from trade to Taiwan.
“We’re going to compete with China (in) every way according to the international rules — economically, politically, in other ways. But I’m not looking for conflict,” Biden said Wednesday as he welcomed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Biden also issued a warning after the Philippines, a treaty-bound ally and former colony of the United States, said Chinese vessels deliberately hit Manila’s boats in dispute-rife waters — an account disputed by Beijing.
“Any attack on Filipino aircraft, vessels or armed forces will invoke our mutual defense treaty with the Philippines,” Biden said.
– Not ‘surrounding’ China –
Biden has championed alliances in the face of China’s rise. He has forged a new three-way military alliance with Australia and Britain and promoted the “Quad” with Australia, India and Japan.
Biden said that he has previously spoken to Xi about the Chinese leader’s concerns, telling him, “No, we’re not surrounding China; we’re just making sure that the sea lanes remain open.”
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning voiced hope that Wang’s visit would help put relations with the United States back on the “track of healthy and stable development.”
Tensions have been particularly high over Taiwan, the self-ruling democracy claimed by Beijing which over the past year has launched major military exercises in response to actions by US lawmakers.
The United States has stepped up defense support of Taiwan, fearing that China is moving forward on plans to seize the island, although US officials hope that Russia’s struggles in Ukraine have given pause to Beijing.
The Biden administration is expected to renew warnings to Wang against China expanding support for Russia and also raise the Middle East, where US ally Israel has been pounding Gaza in response to attacks by Islamist militants Hamas.
China on Wednesday joined Russia in vetoing a US-led resolution at the Security Council which did not call explicitly for a ceasefire.
Washington has sought to turn the tables by pressing Beijing to do more in the region including by pressuring Iran’s clerical leadership, which backs Hamas.
The diplomacy with China comes as the United States enters an election season in which Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, who is seeking to return to the White House, has made hawkish criticism of Beijing a signature policy.
US allies, while often critical of China, have largely welcomed diplomacy to keep tensions in check.
Albanese plans to visit China shortly after his state visit to Washington as tensions ease between Canberra and Beijing, which had imposed tariffs on key Australian exports in a show of force over political disputes.
Albanese said it was important to “cooperate where we can, disagree where we must, but engage in our national interest.”
“It is in Australia’s interests as well as China — but I believe in the global interest — for us to have a relationship where there is dialogue,” he said.
Anticipation builds for Xi Jinping-Joe Biden summit as Chinese, US officials meet
South China Morning Post
Wed, October 25, 2023 at 2:30 AM PDT
There are signs that preparations are under way for an anticipated summit between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden next month, analysts say, with more official exchanges between the two sides.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Washington from Thursday, potentially to firm up details of a meeting that has yet to be confirmed between the Chinese and US presidents at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco.
Wang is slated to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning on Tuesday said Wang would have in-depth exchanges on areas including bilateral ties and regional and international issues of common concern.
Meanwhile, the China-US Economic Working Group held its first meeting by video link on Tuesday, which the Chinese finance ministry said was “in-depth, candid and constructive”. A meeting of the new Financial Working Group will be held on Wednesday, the US Department of the Treasury said.
Analysts say an increase in official exchanges between the two powers – from their deputy foreign ministers to the economic and financial working groups and Wang’s Washington trip – indicated preparations could be under way for a leaders’ summit.
Chong Ja Ian, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore, said there was “some stabilisation of Sino-US ties, but whether that amounts to a thawing of bilateral ties remains to be seen”.
Sources familiar with the matter have told the Post that the US has invited China for the Apec meeting but there has been no invitation for a Xi-Biden summit as yet – they said that could happen if Wang and Blinken reach an agreement this week.
It could also be a way to play down public expectations and manage risks, according to a Chinese expert in US-China relations who declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
While analysts saw a potential Xi-Biden summit as a way to help stabilise ties, they said it would be unlikely to yield a breakthrough.
Gov. Gavin Newsom meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping to promote climate cooperation
Wed, October 25, 2023 at 2:48 PM PDT
Oct. 25 (UPI) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday to promote climate cooperation between the world’s two largest economies and polluters, as the meeting drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over China’s human rights violations.
“We’re not going to move the needle on climate change unless the United States and China collaborate together,” Newsom told reporters after the meeting. The Democratic governor says both countries emit more than 40% of the world’s carbon emissions.