This very important meeting is a signal for world public opinion about the need to de-escalate tensions in the modern world.
It should be understood in Moscow, Tehran and Tel Aviv in one way only. The superpowers are not interested in raising the temperature of the conflicts, and steps should be taken to suppress such battles.
The words of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping that “Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed” and Joe Biden’s declaration that the U.S. must “ensure that competition does not veer into conflict” can probably be interpreted as an interlude to a thaw in the recently strained relations between the two powers.
There were more messages sent during the San Francisco meeting about the need to seek consensual solutions between the U.S. and China. Competition is not the only way of handling the relationship, and when it does take place, it should be managed wisely and responsibly. Besides, as Biden stressed, superpowers have a duty toward their nations to cooperate on global challenges such as climate change, the fight against drugs, and artificial intelligence.
Biden-Xi Meeting: Words and Gestures a Signal Sent to the World That We Are Not Headed for Global Conflict
We don’t yet know many of the details of these talks, but we know that the agenda included the most urgent issues, which are the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East and tensions around Taiwan. It is hard not to see that the collision of these three issues prompted the Chinese leader to visit the U.S. and hold direct talks with Biden.
In other words, Washington, as well as Beijing, understands that tensions in world politics have reached such a level that they cannot be escalated any further and that the world needs a signal that those who are responsible for it are capable of holding talks about de-escalation calmly. Biden and Xi are not miracle workers. They are not capable, by pressing some hidden button, of withdrawing Israeli forces from Gaza nor of bringing about a cease-fire on Ukrainian front lines.
Nevertheless, that is not the point. Their words and gestures are a signal sent to the world that we are not heading for global conflict and that the strongest players are capable of working for peace. It’s also a signal sent to Moscow, Tehran and Tel Aviv that the superpowers do not intend to polarize world geopolitics and will slowly and — let’s hope — consistently offer peaceful solutions.
Biden and Xi Shaking Hands Will Not Solve Conflicts
But we should not be particularly naive. A cordial handshake between Xi and Biden is only a gesture. It will not solve conflicts between the U.S. and China, which have grown and accumulated over the years. Solving at least some of them will take years of time and goodwill — and the latter is the crux of the matter. Xi’s visit to California and the consensual tone of the two leaders are a demonstration of goodwill. Let’s hope more steps will follow this gesture.