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Biden conducts “candid and direct” talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Biden conducts "candid and direct" talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Hong-Kong — President Joe Biden would have a face-to-face summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday. The meeting, via video conference, willChina talks since Mr Biden took office. The discussion is set to begin at 7:45 PM Dutch time and is expected to last “several hours,” with the aim, according to a senior Biden government official, to keep lines of communication open between the world’s two largest economies to ensure that “competition does not lead to conflict.”

mr. Biden will be “direct and candid about” points of attention“, the US official said. Those areas probably include China’s record numbers Taiwan Air Defense Zone raids in the past months; human rights issues in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong-Kong, and Beijing’s use of economic coercion and cyber technology. Ongoing supply chain problems and trade rates are not expected to be a priority during the conversation.

FILE: DAVOS, January 17, 2017 — Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets US Vice President Joe Biden in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017.

Xinhua News Agency

The White House official downplayed the likelihood of major policy changes or diplomatic breakthroughs amid bilateral tension that has risen to near worst since the US and China normalized diplomatic relations in 1979.

Over the weekend, as a prelude to the presidential talks, top diplomats from both countries spoke on the phone. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the importance of “meeting each other halfway” to ensure a smooth summit, the Chinese state administration said. Global times. He also warned his counterpart, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that Washington should not support independence for Taiwan.

“The secretary stressed the long-standing US interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and expressed concern about” [China’s] ongoing military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price, noting that Blinken had urged Beijing to engage in meaningful dialogue to address the problems in the to resolve the street peacefully in a manner consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan.”

Mr Biden should start his conversation with Xi a few hours later signing its $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill in law – a victory for him and his administration. White House officials believe the timing means Biden will enter the summit with a “strong hand” and “well positioned to engage President Xi.”

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But President Biden’s domestic approval rating has fallen to a new low of 41%, according to a poll released on Sunday. With midterm elections approaching in the US next year, he is likely to delay any steps that could open him or fellow Democrats to criticism for being lenient on China.

The summit “will mark a turning point in relations between China and the US, indicating that despite all the differences and difficulties in bilateral relations, the two leaders believe that the two countries can talk and interact with each other.” , rather than allowing relations to deteriorate.” out of control,” Chinese foreign affairs analyst Victor Gao, president of Soochow University, told CBS News.

Gao said he hoped the direct talks between the leaders would serve to “reduce and minimize strategic mistrust and prevent strategic miscalculations, and increase mutual understanding of each other’s key strategic positions”.

“China and the US should get along — for their own benefit and for world peace and stability as a whole,” Gao said. “I believe the virtual summit will bring a collective sigh of relief to humanity.”

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Xi will enter the discussion in one of his strongest domestic positions ever.

The Chinese Communist Party, at a meeting of the country’s top 370 leaders on Friday, elevated the 68-year-old president to the same status as the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong, of the 1940s, and its supreme leader Deng Xiaoping, who the presidency in the 1980s. They are China’s two most powerful leaders of the past 100 years. Xi’s official rise to their status came via a so-called “historic resolution” – only the third drafted since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921.

The resolution praised Xi’s leadership since he took power in 2012, saying that China had “made a historic achievement and undergone a historic transformation” with him as president.

Ultimately, the statement puts Xi on the strongest footing possible as he heads into a year when many expect to see him run for an unprecedented third term as president.

Under Deng, China imposed a two-term limit on its presidents as he worked to dismantle the personality cult that had grown up around Mao.

But Xi appears to be bringing back some of the cult surrounding the country’s top leader. By this time next year, it would be more of a surprise to Chinese citizens and China viewers around the world if Xi did. not continue to build on his legacy, by continuing his leadership of the country.

Proponents and critics may even agree that if that happens, it could mean the return of a Chinese emperor – for life and for the 21st century.