Virtual summit nonetheless fails to seek out breakthrough on points reminiscent of Taiwan and human rights
United States President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday agreed on the necessity to “responsibly” handle a aggressive relationship however did not discover a breakthrough on any of the thorny points which have led to more and more confrontational ties.
The two leaders on Tuesday morning (Monday night in Washington) spoke for over three hours of their first digital summit, convened from the Roosevelt Room within the White House and the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Mr. Xi greeted Mr. Biden as an “old friend” whereas the U.S. President famous that the 2, from their time as Vice Presidents, had “spent an awful lot of time talking to one another” and had “never been that formal with one another”.
The change in tone was apparent from a March assembly in Alaska between senior officers that noticed accusations traded in entrance of the cameras and marked a turbulent begin to the Biden administration’s engagement with China.
But pleasantries apart, either side primarily bolstered their positions on most of the core points which have strained the connection with no main breakthrough within the readouts issued by the 2 sides. The foremost takeaway was a mutual recognition of the necessity to handle competitors even when there was no important headway.
Mr. Biden referred to as for “common sense guardrails to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict,” the White House stated, though its readout didn’t element the character of those measures past saying the 2 leaders talked about how the 2 sides may proceed to interact on quite a lot of areas. The U.S. President additionally underlined the “importance of managing competition responsibly.”
Mr. Xi, for his half, stated “mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation” ought to be the “three principles” guiding ties, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated in its readout. He stated the 2 international locations “need to treat each other as equals” and that “no conflict and no confrontation is a line that both sides must hold.” “Drawing ideological lines or dividing the world into different camps or rival groups,” he stated, “will solely make the world endure”, calling on the U.S. “to meet its word of not seeking a ‘new Cold War’, with concrete actions.”
The unanswered query was how either side would “responsibly manage” variations when neither appeared to provide floor on any of them. The Chinese President stated on the one hand that “the key is to manage [differences] constructively so that they don’t magnify or exacerbate” however added that “China will certainly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.” He added that it was “important that the U.S. properly handle the relevant issues with prudence.”
Top of these points is Taiwan. Mr. Biden stated the U.S. “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”. He additionally “discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the United States to uphold our commitments in the region,” the White House stated, highlighting the “importance of freedom of navigation and safe overflight to the region’s prosperity.”
Mr. Biden, in impact, stated that the U.S. was dedicated to the established order from its aspect on Taiwan, by underlining the nation’s dedication to the “one China” coverage, the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances. Under its one China coverage, Washington recognises Beijing alone because the formal authorities of China, however below the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. will assist Taiwan whether it is attacked by Beijing.
Mr. Xi, in distinction, referred to what he referred to as “the true status quo of the Taiwan question” which was that “there is but one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China.” “We have patience and will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts,” he stated. “That said, should the separatist forces for Taiwan independence provoke us, force our hands or even cross the red line, we will be compelled to take resolute measures.”
Mr. Biden additionally raised “concerns” on China’s actions in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong and human rights points extra broadly, which introduced a response from Mr. Xi saying that “democracy is not mass produced with a uniform model” and “dismissing forms of democracy that are different from one’s own is in itself undemocratic.” “China is ready to have dialogues on human rights on the basis of mutual respect,” he stated, “but we oppose using human rights to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs.”
Both flagged local weather change as one space of cooperation, coming after a latest settlement introduced by the 2 international locations at COP26. In his opening remarks, Mr. Biden stated the 2 international locations should work collectively the place pursuits aligned, highlighting local weather change, whereas Mr. Xi stated local weather chane “can well become a new highlight of cooperation.”