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Biden Meets with Xi

President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday, according to The Washington Post (subscription).

The background: The United States and China have seen increased tension over a range of issues in recent years, from trade practices to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Some observers have voiced concerns that the increased competition between the two countries could devolve into a modern Cold War, with potentially devastating ramifications for the global economy and international security.

The goal: President Biden couched the three-hour meeting as an opportunity to lower the temperature through face-to-face diplomacy, reiterating the need to “manage competition” through direct conversations that can keep the relationship between the United States and China productive.

  • “The world expects, I believe, the U.S. and China to play a key role in global challenges, from climate change to food insecurity, and for us to be able to work together,” President Biden said during his opening remarks. “The United States stands ready to do just that.”

The context: President Biden has long emphasized the importance of fair competition between the two economic powers, as well as existing trade enforcement tools that press China to address market-distorting policies and practices, and new restrictions on selling high-tech equipment like semiconductors and chip-making tools to China.

The results: Following the meeting, Presidents Biden and Xi pledged to improve the relationship between the United States and China. Both leaders also agreed on the need for bilateral cooperation around global matters like climate change.

  • “No joint statement, which is typical when the sides want to show progress and areas of agreement, was expected, and White House officials said beforehand that they didn’t expect any major announcements,” The Washington Post reported. “Instead, they cast the moment as the start of a long process, one to help thaw a relationship rife with so much tension that even talks on issues of mutual interest, such as climate change, have sometimes been shut down.”
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