Biden and Xi say US and China should compete “responsibly”

US President Joe Biden (R) and China’s President Xi Jinping (L) meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on November 14, 2022. Photo : Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

BALI, Indonesia — President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed during a meeting today to establish regular channels of communication between key officials and carefully manage the US-China relationship going forward.

Why it matters: The meeting, held on the sidelines of the G20 summit, marked the first time the two leaders have met since Biden became president and appears to have fulfilled the Biden administration’s stated goal of establishing guardrails to manage responsibly the competition between the two superpowers.

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What they are saying: The two leaders “agreed to empower key senior officials to maintain communication and deepen constructive efforts on these and other issues,” according to the White House readout.

  • “We will compete vigorously, but we do not seek conflict,” Biden said at a press conference Monday evening, adding that they had “an open and honest conversation” about their respective intentions and our priorities.
  • Xi admitted surprisingly candidly that the state of U.S.-China relations “was not what the international community expects from us,” according to a reading of the meeting provided by China’s Foreign Ministry, and he added that the relationship needs to be put “. on an upward trajectory.”
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Details: Biden stressed that the U.S.’s one-China policy — not officially taking a public position on whether the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s defense — has not changed, despite his repeated assertions over the past year that the U.S. would defend Taiwan in case of attack from China.

Between the lines: “This is a positive sign that, after nearly two years in which the two sides have mostly talked and focused on strengthening their respective negotiating hands, they are now ready to engage on a number of issues,” he said Amanda Hsiao. senior China analyst at the International Crisis Group.

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The big picture: Bilateral relations between the world’s two superpowers have deteriorated dramatically in recent years amid tensions over COVID, trade, espionage, cyber security, Taiwan and more.

What to see: Biden and Xi agreed on a future visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to follow up today’s meeting.

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