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Biden-Xi tte – tte raises hopes for better relations

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President Biden had a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping late last week; only their second since Biden took office, in a US-led attempt to stabilize bilateral ties and further engage Beijing amid increasing competition.

The world’s two largest economies are stuck in an impasse fueled by latent disagreements on issues such as trade, technology and human rights. That and a global coronavirus pandemic blocking most international travel has diminished communication and cooperation between Washington and Beijing. When elephants fight, ants are trampled on. The world watched with dismay as the two giants engaged in a verbal duel, when the duo could have worked together to resolve the serious issues threatening humanity.

Until August 31, Biden was absorbed in the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. The messy release lowered its approval ratings both at home and abroad. Now that Afghanistan is behind them, the White House has deemed it prudent to reach out to Beijing amid the animosity initiated under President Trump’s reign. Some analysts believe that the American business community has pressured Washington DC to repair barriers with China.

A contingent of Wall Street veterans, including John Thornton, chairman of Barrick Gold Corp. and a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. veteran, strive to improve relationships. A survey released last week by the American Chamber of Commerce in China found that three-quarters of attendees complained that trade war measures were hurting their operations.

Statements released by Washington DC and Beijing after the 90-minute header were similar. The White House said Biden and Xi had a broad strategic discussion in which they discussed areas where our interests converge and areas where our interests, values ​​and perspectives diverge. They agreed to engage on both sets of issues openly and directly.

China’s outlook on high-level telecommunications echoed sentiments expressed by the United States, except Beijing offered a more conciliatory and hopeful tone than the rhetoric declared last year and ended. through a commitment to maintain in-depth communication between leaders. from China and the United States. In addition, Beijing has said that the fate of the world depends on the ability of China and the United States to manage their relations well. Bilateral cooperation would benefit the world; the confrontation would bring disasters. The US-China relationship is not a multiple-answer question of whether we should have a good relationship, but a mandatory question of how, according to Beijing.

The leaders of the United States and China have agreed to manage the growing rivalry between the world’s two major economies to prevent it from escalating into conflict, a commitment seen as increasing the prospects for talks as the two countries face pressure to improve their relationships.

Beijing said Xi called for courage to put Sino-US relations back on track because the confrontation would only mean suffering for the world. [Maintaining a good relationship between China and the US] It is a question of the century to which both countries must give a good answer … Establishing the relationship well is not an option, but something that we must and must do well, said the Chinese Ministry of Affairs. foreigners citing Xi.

Earlier this year, in March, when senior officials from the United States and China met halfway in Alaska, the discussion turned into an angry exchange of words. The two sides exchanged scathing rhetoric which produced no results.

Officials from both countries have held talks in the past, but to no apparent results. And quarrels over the protocol have prevented high-level military contacts. Biden and Xi are both expected to attend the Group of 20 meeting in Rome next month, although there has been speculation Xi may not attend in person. Chinese and US leaders have traditionally held a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the meeting, but it is not known if that will happen this year.

A senior Biden administration official said the idea for Thursday’s appeal arose out of frustration over a perceived reluctance on lower-level Chinese officials to engage in serious or substantive conversations. .

The official said Biden made the call with Xi to really have a broad and strategic discussion on how to handle competition between the United States and China. It is highly likely that leadership level commitment is really what is needed to move the ball forward, the official said.

After months of little progress in US-China relations, Joe Bidens’ frustration led him to launch an appeal with Xi Jinping seeking a breakthrough. Now the question is who will be the first to take concrete action.

The Biden administration said the United States welcomes competition with China but is willing to cooperate in areas of common interest, such as climate change. Chinese officials say it is unrealistic for the United States to expect cooperation while taking measures that harm China’s interests.

China believes that cooperation on tackling the environment and climate change can take place if key issues, which remain a bone of contention, are addressed first. Beijing presented its demands, including lifting all sanctions, removing punitive tariffs, revoking visa bans, ending export restrictions on high-tech items, and withdrawing an application for extradition for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. Washington persists in blaming China for the outbreak of COVID-19 and repeatedly launches a tirade of accusations in Beijing’s management of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

The Japan Times, in its op-ed on the Telecom Marathon, summed it up in its headline: The Biden-Xi Phone Call Raises a Key Question: Who Blinks First?

Biden and Xi both owe it to posterity to put aside their differences and unite to meet the challenges of tackling COVID-19, climate change, growing poverty, hunger and unemployment. Many analysts believe the call could lead to more substantial engagement and serve as a turning point for trade talks or the resumption of a frozen strategic dialogue under the Trump administration.

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