Biden and Xi Meet, Agree to Resume Military Communication

Image copyright: Office of the President of the United States [via Wikimedia Commons]

The Facts

  • US Pres. Joe Biden and Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping met for the first time in a year on Wednesday, as the two held talks for approximately four hours in California before attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in an attempt to revive relations between both countries.

  • During a post-meeting press conference, Biden described the talks as "some of the most constructive and productive discussions we've had." Later in the day, Xi claimed that both nations needed to "build more bridges and pave more roads between each other."


The Spin

Pro-China narrative

Xi has informed Biden that China-US relations have two potential future paths: that of prosperous cooperation, or chaos and confrontation. Agreements from Wednesday's summit advocating a reopening of various communication channels have hopefully thawed tensions, with Xi and Beijing adamant that the two powers cannot turn their backs on each other.

Pro-establishment narrative

While certainly a step in the right direction for US-China bilateral relations, Biden rightly remained tough on certain issues — reaffirming his description of Xi as a "dictator," and ensuring a crackdown on China's role in fentanyl production. With the world watching, the US made great strides in mending ties with China — however, only time will tell if Beijing's welcome shift in tone translates into continued action.

Cynical narrative

Actions speak louder than words, and the reality remains that both China and the US continue to expand their nuclear stockpile — a topic of little discussion during the much-anticipated summit between the two leaders. Analysts fear the potential of a tit-for-tat nuclear war between the two, and this overarching worry will only continue to loom over any US-China summit until frank conversations are truly had.


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