Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
November 11, 2022
China acknowledged that “This is a long-awaited piece of significant news for the international community.” But it also announced that Xi will meet with French President Macron before meeting with President Biden. What is Chinese message here? Of course, China recognizes the significance of this summit is “a positive signal itself.”
But it is a bit of puzzling that China stated that” the US side leaked information through various channels before the meeting. Was there a breach of mutual understanding or protocol? Obviously, there is a need of confidence building between the US and Chin. The news media reports, or quotes do not serve the purposes of official communication between nations. Yet sometimes, official communications should stay in the background. That is the value of an in-person summit. However, the US has already downplayed the expectation of this summit: there will not be any joint communique after the summit. It means the US does not expect any agreement on any major issues.
In fact, it means that this summit, of course it will not be a social event, will be a chance for Biden and Xi, respectively, to reiterate each other’s position one more time and no compromises should be expected from this summit. Because these positions are nothing new and strongly defended by each other all the time.
It is unfortunate that Taiwan becomes a top agenda issue for this US-China summit, according the US. First of all, Taiwan issue can be easily managed if both the US and China go back to the “basics:” why should the US and China go to war over Taiwan? Then, when the US and China discuss the future of Taiwan, there is no representation or input from the people in Taiwan. The US side assured Taiwan, in public, that it will be briefed after the summit. Is it a proxy politics?
Hopefully, after this summit, the Biden administration will be able to announce the promised “Biden’s China Strategy.” The public sentiment in the US, after the midterm election, is that Biden should not run for re-election in 2024. So, from the Chinese perspective, they have to deal with Biden for any other two years only. That is the reality of this in person summit!
Xi-Biden meeting a positive signal in itself: Global Times editorial
By Global TimesPublished: Nov 12, 2022 01:29 AM
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially announced on Friday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in Bali, Indonesia, from November 14 to 17 and attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, as well as visit Thailand from November 17 to 19. This is a long-awaited piece of significant news for the international community.
On the sidelines of the meetings, Xi will hold bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, among others, upon request. The White House disclosed one day earlier on Thursday that President Biden and President Xi will meet in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday. This has to some extent reflected the eagerness of the US side. It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state since Biden took office. At a time when tensions between the two major powers are escalating, the significance of the two leaders having candid and in-depth exchanges directly is self-evident.
Regarding the upcoming heads-of-state meeting, regardless of what is talked about at the time, the move of “sitting down to talk” between the leaders of China and the US sends a positive signal that can help ease the tension of the situation. As one of the most important bilateral relations in the world, China-US relations are encountering unprecedented difficulties. Not only China and the US, but also the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world are feeling the increasing pressure and potential risks. It has become an increasingly strong common aspiration of the international community to promote China-US relations to return to the right track of healthy and stable development at an early date. This is also the historical responsibility entrusted by the current international situation and the reality of China-US relations to both countries.
We notice that the US side leaked information through various channels before the meeting. After proposing setting up “guardrails,” the US this time has put forward suggestions such as building a floor for relations with China and laying out “what each of our red lines are.” Despite the change in wording, they have similar meaning. Our understanding is: They mean to avoid a fierce confrontation or even conflict between China and the US. We would like to believe that the US does not want China-US relations to continue to deteriorate until they come to a dead end. As a country that firmly follows the path of peaceful development, China is more unwilling to be involved in conflicts with any country. In other words, this should be a consensus between the two countries.
It must be said that the difficult situation in China-US relations today is entirely caused by the wrong perception and behavior of some people on the US side. “Avoiding a conflict between China and the US” should not be an empty slogan. Washington needs to take concrete actions. For the Chinese side, the three joint communiqués are the most important “guardrails” for bilateral relations, and the one-China principle is an insurmountable “red line.” The problem now is that this very clear and unambiguous definition becomes ambiguous when it reaches the US, which makes the Chinese side feel that the US’ emphasis on “guardrails” or “floor” is just meant to constrain and restrict China’s defense of its core interests. The Taiwan question is at the center of China’s core interests, and the one-China principle is the basis of the political foundation of China-US relations. There is no room for bargaining. Facts show that the US’ understanding of the “red line” of China-US relations is far from adequate.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the US will brief Taiwan island on the meeting between the heads of states of the US and China, and expressed confidence that the Taiwan authorities would feel “very secure and comfortable.” This is first a serious violation of the one-China principle. The only way to make the people on the Taiwan island “secure and comfortable” is to give up any support and encouragement for “Taiwan independence.” The US must recognize that on the Taiwan question, peaceful resolution is incompatible with secessionist attempts for “Taiwan independence.” To truly maintain peace across the Taiwan Straits, it is necessary to firmly oppose and stop any “Taiwan independence” acts.
China’s desire to improve China-US relations is sincere, while its attitude to safeguarding its core interests is firm. This has never changed. China will always view and develop China-US relations in accordance with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation put forward by President Xi. This position will also be reflected during the meeting between the two heads of state. We hope that Washington will take a responsible attitude and meet China halfway.
Biden and Xi will meet next week in Indonesia, US confirms
SCMP: Fri, November 11, 2022 at 1:30 AM
A long-anticipated meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, set for Monday in Indonesia, is expected to include discussions on Taiwan, human rights, Ukraine and harmful economic practices with a goal of “building a floor” under the strained relationship between the world’s two largest economies, a senior US official said Thursday.
“The most important thing is enabling the two leaders to have a meaningful, substantive, in-depth and candidly private conversation, to be able to, you know, judge one another for themselves.”
While recent US national security documents and White House statements have underscored the importance of limiting China’s access to the most advanced semiconductors, chip-making tools and quantum computing technologies, the official said these were limited in scope.
“To be clear, our policy is not containment,” the official said. “Our concern is with certain high-end technologies that feed into Beijing’s development of high-end military applications”.
Analysts had low expectations for the meeting.
The US official declined to discuss Washington’s view of where Xi stands after the Communist Party congress, adding that communication was still hampered given that China’s leadership transition continues. While top party positions were announced last month, new senior government posts will not be outlined until next spring.
The G20 could be a global coming-out party of sorts for Xi following last month’s party congress as he tries to reduce tensions with the US, charm developing countries and showcase his new-found stature, analysts said.
Others said they would watch to see what Xi does with his growing power.
“Does he recognise that a stable relationship with America should be a core of interest of China’s?” said Susan Shirk, a professor at the University of California, San Diego.
“And if he does, will he have that pragmatic gene that previous leaders had in their willingness to be flexible, make compromises, engage in normal diplomacy in order to resolve our differences?”
Both sides had been cagey about committing to the meeting, which was rumoured for months, as relations hit new lows.
Some of the caution related to the lack of trust. Other factors relate to domestic politics.
And China is concerned that any compromise on its part to lower the temperature could prove short-lived, met by a potentially insincere US response, that could prove embarrassing and anger Chinese hardliners.
Fresh in Beijing’s memory are events of less than a year ago, when the two leaders held a virtual meeting in November and pledged to “manage competition responsibly” only to have the Biden administration announce, three weeks later, a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.