Biden and Xi vow to ‘handle’ tense relationship

Pledging to “manage” their fierce international competitors, President Biden and China’s Xi Jinping on Monday sat all the way down to their first in-person talks in years, showing pleasant and relaxed regardless of a nadir in relations between the world’s two superpowers.

The assembly in an Indonesia resort on the margins of the Group of 20 summit of the world’s main economies lasted for a number of hours and got here as the 2 international locations spar over what Washington considers to be China’s oppression of dissidents and minorities at residence and aggressive push to increase energy and affect overseas. Beijing is indignant over Biden’s upkeep of Trump-era commerce restrictions and punitive sanctions that hurt its economic system.

It was Biden’s first face-to-face assembly with Xi since he grew to become president, though the 2 leaders have handled one another for a decade. Xi just lately engineered an unprecedented third time period as chief of the Chinese language Communist Social gathering, just about making certain his standing as president for all times.

“We share responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever to near-conflict and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation,” Biden stated as the 2 males shook arms in entrance of a line of Chinese language and U.S. flags.

Xi appeared to echo the sentiment. “The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship,” Xi stated.

Flanked by their delegations, Biden and Xi then took their positions throughout from one another at two lengthy tables. The Chinese language every wore a white face masks adorned with a tiny pink Chinese language flag; the Individuals wore black, white and different masks. Biden and Xi didn’t put on masks. Protocols over COVID safety have been a problem, as Xi has been meticulous in avoiding worldwide journey and implementing a “zero-COVID” coverage that has striven to stamp out breakouts of the illness with strict closures of total cities.

Regardless of the conciliatory phrases on Monday, Washington and Beijing stay in a doubtlessly unstable diplomatic and financial standoff.

China has made more and more aggressive territorial claims within the South China Sea and stepped up threats to Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing regards as a renegade province. Tensions over Taiwan have been exacerbated following high-profile visits to Taipei by Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and different U.S. lawmakers, in addition to Biden’s public presents to defend the island “militarily” from Chinese language assault. Till now, the U.S. coverage has been considered one of deliberate ambiguity. It’s in search of to respect its longstanding “One China” doctrine — which acknowledges the communist authorities of mainland China whereas sustaining unofficial relations with Taiwan — whereas remaining silent about what it could do if China invaded the island.

However on Monday, Biden and Xi put inventory in in-person diplomacy to defuse a few of these conflicts.

Biden stated there was “little substitute” for face-to-face discussions. “I’m committed to keeping the lines of communications open between you and me personally, but also our government’s across the board,” Biden stated.

“The world expects, I believe, China and the United States to play key roles in addressing global challenges from climate changes to food insecurity, and for us to be able to work together,” Biden stated. “The United States stands ready to do just that, work with you, if that’s what you desire.”

The Xi encounter is the spotlight in Biden’s swing by Asia for back-to-back summits which can be a part of an effort to reassert his administration’s desired deal with the area.

Biden spent the weekend getting ready for his sit-down with Xi by consulting regional allies on the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations and the East Asia summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He held separate conferences with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol earlier than all three met to debate their method to China and coordinating a response to North Korea’s uptick in ballistic missile launches.

He additionally met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who’s scheduled to satisfy Xi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit Tuesday.

The president left the summits emboldened by suggestions he obtained from a number of overseas leaders who complimented him on his social gathering’s efficiency within the midterm elections, in line with White Home officers. Some identified that the sleek administration of the elections and the “general acceptance” of the outcomes have been a testomony to democracy — a significant concern given supporters of former President Trump forged doubt on the 2020 election and stormed the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.

Biden was “proud,” permitting him and his delegation to method the assembly with Xi “with the wind at our backs,” a senior administration official informed reporters earlier than the assembly.

Workers author Tracy Wilkinson reported from Washington.