tirsdag 16. november 2021

'Healthy debate,' but no breakthroughs in Biden's critical talks with China's Xi Jinping

When Chinese President Xi Jinping beamed into the White House on Monday evening fora virtual summit with President Joe Biden, the two men needed no introduction. "We've spent an awful lot of time talking to one another, and I hope we can have a candid conversation tonight as well," Biden said as the talks got underway, sitting at the head of the Roosevelt Room table as Xi's visage was broadcast on a pair of television screens.

From his seat in a cavernous room inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi was just as friendly. "Although it's not as good as a face-to-face meeting," Xi said as the summit got underway, "I'm very happy to see my old friend."

It was an auspicious start to some of the most critical talks of Biden's presidency, given the deteriorating ties between Washington and Beijing and the reality, acknowledged by administration officials, that managing the US relationship with China will amount to Biden's most critical international objective.
The affable greetings eventually turned more serious as Biden raised concerns about human rights, Chinese aggression toward Taiwan and trade issues. Throughout, the leaders engaged in a "healthy debate," according to a senior administration official present for the discussions.