American President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in a virtual summit that went on for more than three hours.
Amid rising tensions between the two countries over matters such as Taiwan, human rights, trade and cyber, the aim of these talks was to allow the leaders to come to a mutual understanding to avoid a potential conflict.
In this sense, it can be said that the summit produced some results.
Biden stated, “It seems to be our responsibility as the leaders of China and the United States to ensure that the competition between our countries does not veer into conflict,” and Xi replied that it was necessary to facilitate dialogue and cooperation. Both Biden and Xi emphasized the importance of managing risk in their relationship, and of holding discussions to stabilize it.
The stance of America, which is a military and economic great power, has an impact on the world at large. There is great significance in its willingness to search for a path to coexistence with China.
Of course, any improvement in relations will not happen immediately.
The Biden administration, which was inaugurated in January of this year, has prioritized the revamping of the American domestic economy and the reconstruction of its relationship with its allies, taking a confrontational stance toward China. China, for its part, has lashed out in response, stating that it will not cooperate with America until it changes its attitude.
Military and economic pressure on Taiwan has increased, and the human rights crises in Hong Kong and Xinjiang have become acute. In truth, the two countries have failed to build a constructive relationship in these 10 months.
During the summit, Biden enumerated a number of concerns, and Xi asked that the American side respect China’s position on these matters. It was reported that there was a fierce debate on the subject of Taiwan.
What is important now is the deployment of a vigorous diplomacy that can break through the intractable status quo. This summit should be taken as a first step.
The international community is concerned that a conflict between America and China could cause the global economy to fall into a panic. America and China bear a heavy responsibility to avoid such a situation from arising.
On Taiwan, if America shows consideration for China’s stance by continuing to accept the “One-China Policy,” and China pursues a peaceful resolution of the dispute, the threat of conflict will recede.
Last month, America and China issued a joint statement that proclaimed the strengthening of their cooperation on climate change. While it lacked concreteness, the mere fact it was issued is not insignificant.
With this agreement as a precedent, it should be possible to increase cooperation in the areas of nuclear disarmament, infectious disease control and the reinvigoration of the global economy.
During the summit, the two leaders traded smiles across the screen, and made the appeal that this was a meeting of familiar old friends. This personal relationship can do nothing but contribute to the rebuilding of the two countries’ relationship.