Update on Sino-U.S. Relations
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After two rounds of high-level meetings made little progress, Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke for the second time since becoming president of the United States in an effort to break the deadlock in relations between the two countries.
The White House stated that the two leaders had “extensive strategic discussions” and Biden “emphasized the United States’ lasting interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.”
The White House stated that the two also discussed the “responsibility of the two countries to ensure that competition does not fall into conflict.” The discussion took place in Washington on Thursday night.
According to a senior US official, Biden asked to call after he concluded at the White House that Chinese officials who met with his American counterparts this year were “unwilling to engage in serious or substantive dialogue.”
“What we get is the usual talking points, more for propaganda purposes,” the official said before the conference call. “President Xi does have centralized power in some very significant areas [so] It is very likely that the participation of the leadership is what is needed to move the ball forward. ”
US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken and National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan met with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Alaska in March, including Open quarrel. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held Follow-up meeting Meeting with Wang and junior officials in Tianjin last month.
After visiting the main White House, he did not approve the chairman, reflecting the sluggish Sino-US relations and the impact of the epidemic on the travel restrictions of the leaders of the two countries.
The President of the United States took a much tougher stance than most experts expected, and strongly condemned Xi Jinping and China for everything from suppressing the Hong Kong democratic movement to treating Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
The US official said that the Biden administration’s diplomatic contacts with China were “not productive”. She said that the Tianjin meeting was undermined by China’s criticism of the United States on Twitter, while officials met behind closed doors — this violation of the agreement was described as an “antics” designed for domestic propaganda purposes.
“These officials are basically reading the talking points… They have no mobility and are performing for each other and the boss,” the official said. She added that as officials prepare for China’s 20th Party Congress next year, it is expected that Xi Jinping will assume the leadership of the party for the third time. This problem has been magnified.
“Considering centralized leadership, the real abolition of collective leadership has indeed increased the importance of talking with Xi Jinping… the proposition to test whether he has more room for maneuver.”
Chinese officials blamed the deadlock on the United States and argued that Biden continued Tough policy The policies inherited from the Trump administration have hindered progress on issues where the interests of two rivals align, such as climate change.Before the meeting in Beijing and Washington Climate Envoy Last week, Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that “the ball is now in a US court”.
Evan Medros, an Asian expert at Georgetown University and former senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, said the call is a critical step that can pave the way for face-to-face meetings.
“In this kind of competitive relationship, leadership-level diplomacy is an important part of managing the competition,” Medeiros said. “It’s been seven months. It has been a difficult seven months for the United States and China. It’s time for the leaders to take control of the situation again.”
The Biden administration has been discussing the idea of ??meeting Xi Jinping at the G20 meeting in Italy in October, but the Chinese media hinted that he might only be able to participate in the event in a virtual way.
Additional reporting by Tom Mitchell in Singapore