The president of United States, Joe Bidenand the President of China, Xi Jinpingwill try to prevent the rivalry between the two superpowers from leading to conflict when they meet on Wednesday for the first time in a year at a high-level summit in San Francisco.
The two leaders are in California to attend the annual forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)but they will hold their conversations alone in Filoli Estatea country house and museum located about 40 kilometers south of San Francisco.
The carefully choreographed meeting will begin with a formal handshake at 10:45 a.m. (1845 GMT), followed by bilateral talks behind closed doors, including a working lunch. Leaders of the world’s largest economies are expected to maintain conversations of at least three hours.
Biden, 80, extended an olive branch to Xi, 70, on the eve of the talks, insisting that The United States “is not trying to disengage from China” and wants to improve the relationship.
But the American president couldn’t resist adding later, at a fundraising dinner, that, under Xi’s communist leadership, China was facing “real problems”while Biden claimed to be “Restoring American leadership in the world”.
China responded with a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman pointing out that all countries had problems, including the United States, while sticking to positive talking points about the summit.
“The key to stabilizing and improving relations between China and the United States is that both parties work togetherand the most fundamental condition is mutual respect,” said the spokesperson Mao Ning.
The two leaders have not met in person since they held talks in Bali in November 2022and relations plummeted after the United States shot down an alleged chinese spy balloon in February of this year.
The conversations also occur in the context of a long struggle for world primacy between the United States and a China increasingly assertive.
One of the most delicate topics is Taiwan, the self-governed democracy over which Beijing claims sovereignty and which it has not ruled out taking by force. This Wednesday, the spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Chinese Government, Zhu Fenglianreiterated that the search for independence by Taiwan It would mean “war.”
It is expected that Biden warns China not to interfere in elections to be held in Taiwan in two monthsarguing that this would raise tensions.
“This is a complex relationship, a competitive relationship, that could easily spiral into conflict or confrontation if not managed well,” the US National Security Advisor said on Monday. Jake Sullivan.
In recent months, Beijing and Washington have maintained a intense high-level diplomatic activity which led to the announcement, less than a week before the summit, of the arrival of Xi.
Expectations for big announcements are lowbut the two countries have tracked a series of possible victories from Xi’s first visit to American soil since he was received by then-president in 2017 donald trump.
One of Biden’s “key objectives” is reestablishment of the military direct line between both countrieswhich Beijing cut after the then speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosiwill visit Taiwan in 2022, said a senior US Administration official.
They are also expected “progress” in cooperation to limit Chinese exports of fentanyl ingredientsthe drug that has devastated American cities like San Francisco, the official said.
The two leaders were also expected to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the ukrainian warin which the two governments are supporting opposite sides, which increases global tensions.
On the eve of the summit, China and USA They also committed to collaborate more closely in the fight against global warmingdeclaring in a joint statement that the climate crisis was “one of the greatest challenges of our time.”
For its part, Xi expected to push for end to trade restrictions and sanctionsat a time when the Chinese economy is struggling to shore up growth following its tough zero-calorie policy.
Chinese leader to host dinner with US executives after summit “to send the message that China is still a good place to invest”said the US official.
Biden and Xi They landed Tuesday in San Francisco, where thousands of people lined the streets waving China’s red and gold flags and carrying banners welcoming the Chinese leader.
Leaders hope to take advantage of a personal relationship that dates back almost a decade and a half.
They both met when then-Vice President Biden was sent by the president Barack Obama in 2011 to meet with Xi, at that time the number two in the Chinese hierarchy.