Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
June 16, 2023
The US and China are engaged in a “full court” competition for global dominance. But it is not a zero-sum game means that the winner takes all and the loser loses everything. The US and China will co-exist, as well as many other nations for a long long time.
Engagements of Diplomats are crucial, but it is only one facet of foreign relations. Especially, the US and China have very different cultures and governances. It will take more time and patience to bridge the differences and it has to be a broad-based grass-root mutual understanding, not just the few politicians. Friendly exchanges by non-government personnel should be encouraged. Thus, Bill Gates’ meeting with President Xi in Beijing is timely. Because, US Secretary of State, Blinken should be in Beijing two days later but whether President Xi will grant a meeting for Secretary Blinken is not a done deal at all.
It appears that President Biden should contact Bill Gates soon for a read-out of Bill’s one-on-one meeting with President Xi. President Biden should not only try to find out what is Bill’s view about his recent trip to China but also Bill’s idea on managing the US-China relation. Further, it should be productive that President Biden invites and meets with some Chinese entrepreneurs regularly. China’s economy scale is second only to the US, Chinese entrepreneurs hold as much sway on China as the American Businessmen do in the US, or even the world. A simple question is that any US sitting President has ever granted to personal meeting with any Chinese entrepreneur? Why not?
China’s Xi greets ‘old friend’ Bill Gates in first meeting with a US business magnate in years
Fri, June 16, 2023 at 3:04 AM PDT
Bill Gates and Xi Jinping met Friday, marking the Chinese leader’s first known one-on-one meeting with a Western business figure in years.
During their meeting, Xi called on Gates to help promote US-China relations, greeting the tech tycoon warmly. “I am very happy to see you. We haven’t seen each other for more than three years … and you are an old friend of ours,” Xi said, according to Chinese state media.
Xi went on to tell Gates that he was “the first American friend I’ve seen this year.”
“I always believe that the foundation of the US-China relationship is in the people. I am placing my hope in the American people,” the Chinese leader was quoted as saying.
The billionaire’s latest visit comes at a precarious time for US-China relations. Tensions are running high over the future of AI and advanced semiconductors, raids by Chinese officials on international companies, and heightened fears that China could attack Taiwan.
Gates’ meeting with the leader of the world’s second largest economy came a day after his family’s foundation pledged $50 million toward research in China for drug discovery and treatments of “infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, which disproportionately affect the world’s poorest,” according to a statement from the Gates Foundation.
In previous years, Gates has enjoyed good relations with Xi. In early 2020, the Chinese leader personally sent him a letter of thanks for sending emergency funding to the country in its fight against Covid-19.
But US-China relations have soured recently. Last month, Microsoft warned that Chinese state-backed hackers were likely pursuing capabilities that could be used to “disrupt critical communications” between the United States and Asia Pacific in the event of a future US-China crisis.
Beijing hit back against the allegations at the time, calling them “a collective disinformation campaign of the Five Eyes coalition” — referring to the intelligence sharing grouping made up of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, whose security agencies jointly issued the advisory.
Gates’ visit also comes a month after LinkedIn’s latest retreat from China. In May, the Microsoft-owned social network announced it was slashing more than 700 jobs and shutting down its careers app in mainland China.
While it will retain a presence there, the company had already pivoted by shutting down the local version of its service in 2021 for a new, China-only platform, citing a challenging operating environment. Now that new platform will be phased out, too.
Gates’ primary focus on his trip is “to visit with partners who have been working on global health and development challenges” with his family’s eponymous foundation for more than a decade, he said on Twitter.
The billionaire’s trip to China is the latest in a string of recent visits by global business leaders.
Bill Gates meets with President Xi Jinping in Beijing
Rita Liao Thu, June 15, 2023 at 11:02 PM PDT
Hot on the heels of Elon Musk’s visit to China earlier this month, the country welcomed another American tech billionaire. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, met President Xi Jinping on Friday in Beijing, China’s state media reported.
The goal of the meeting hasn’t been announced publicly, but official media reports will likely follow. A reporter from China’s English state tabloid Global Times tweeted what seemed to be quotes from the meeting, giving us an early glimpse into the mood of the conversation.
Gates previously said he’d be meeting partners working on global health and development challenges. These are the few remaining areas where China and the West find common ground amid rising geopolitical tensions.
“You are the first American friend I’ve met in Beijing this year,” President Xi told Gates on Friday. “As the world is emerging from Covid, people should move around more, communicate more, and enhance their understanding of each other.”
President Xi also told Gates that China is willing to engage in “extensive technological innovation cooperation with countries around the world” and “actively participate in and promote the response to global challenges, such as climate change and public health,” according to the reporter.
The Biden Administration is weighing restrictions on investments from the U.S. into Chinese cutting-edge technologies, including AI, semiconductors and quantum computing.
MSRA, which started in 1998, has played a pivotal role in training China’s AI talent, many of whom have gone on to found their own ventures. That includes autonomous driving upstart Momenta, which has attracted funding from Bosch, General Motors and Toyota.
It won’t be a surprise if Gates is eschewing the touchy topic of the U.S.-China tech war and focuses on philanthropic endeavors on the trip.