Biden-Xi summit: frank discussions and a call to avoid turning the competition into a conflict

During their summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping called for avoiding the competition between the two countries turning into a “conflict,” while the White House described the talks as “frank and constructive.”

Biden told Xi, during the 4-hour summit, that “there is no substitute for face-to-face discussions,” and that “we must make sure that competition does not lead to conflict.”

Biden added that he “appreciates these conversations” because he believes “it is important that we understand each other clearly, from leader to leader, without misconceptions or misunderstandings.” Before stressing the need to “ensure that competition does not turn into conflict” between the two largest economies in the world.

In his opening speech, Biden pointed out that he and Xi have known each other for many years, and that they did not always agree, but he considered that “hosting the Chinese President in the United States is a great honor,” according to statement for the white house

The two presidents sat opposite each other at a meeting table, surrounded by senior officials in the administration of the two countries. Biden and Xi touched on similar topics in their statements, with both saying their goal was to prevent the relationship between their countries from turning into conflict.

Both leaders were keen to mention that their relationship began before Biden (80) arrived at the White House.

Biden said: “Our meetings have always been frank, direct and useful,” adding: “It is vital that we understand each other clearly.”

He went on to say: “We also have a responsibility towards our people… and the world, to work together when we believe it is in our interest to do so, and the critical global challenges we face, from climate change to drug control to artificial intelligence, require our joint efforts.”

“Planet Earth is great for our success together.”

For his part, Xi said, according to a translation of his remarks into English: “When I came here, I remembered your trip to Beijing when I was Vice President. We had a meeting. That was 12 years ago. I still remember our dealings very clearly, and it always gives me a lot of ideas.” “.

He added: “The last time we met in Bali, a lot has happened since then. The world has emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, but is still under its massive repercussions. The global economy is slowly recovering, and industrial and supply chains are still at risk of stopping.”

Xi called on the US President to make “joint efforts” to combat drug trafficking, and to deal wisely with artificial intelligence. Xi also spoke of the need to strengthen cooperation to combat climate change, but he also condemned what he described as increasing “protectionism.”

During the meeting, Xi said, “Each party cannot turn its back on the other,” noting the need for the two countries to be able to “overcome all differences,” especially since they “bear a great responsibility before the world and history.”

Xi pointed out that “competition between major countries cannot solve the problems facing China, the United States, or the entire world,” stressing that “Planet Earth is large enough for both countries to succeed.”

The official Xinhua News Agency said that the two presidents “agreed to hold intergovernmental talks between China and the United States on artificial intelligence.”

“Frank and constructive discussions”

The White House said, via the “X” communication platform, that the US President and his Chinese counterpart “held frank and constructive discussions on a range of bilateral and global issues, and exchanged views on areas of disagreement.”

An American official told reporters that the Chinese President told Biden that Taiwan is the largest and most dangerous issue in US-Chinese relations.

The official quoted Xi as saying that “China favors peaceful reunification with the island of Taiwan” but continues to talk about “circumstances in which force can be used.”

The US official also noted that Biden “asked China to use its influence with Iran and urge it to avoid steps that could be considered provocative in the Middle East.” The official added, “Chinese officials are engaged in discussions with Iran regarding risks in the region.”

Biden received the Chinese President at a country house south of San Francisco, before they later moved to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

On Tuesday, the Chinese President arrived in San Francisco, on his first trip to the United States in 6 years.

The meeting came after months of intense diplomacy, following the Biden administration’s sending of three government officials to Beijing, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to Washington.

Bilateral relations between the two countries deteriorated after a visit by former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan last year. Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the self-governing island, considered it a “dangerous provocation,” and stopped several channels of communication and cooperation with the United States.

Relations seemed to be on the way to improvement, after Biden met with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia in November 2022; But it retreated again after the United States shot down a Chinese balloon, which it suspected of being “spying” over its territory.

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