Biden-Xi meeting concludes, both sides to ensure differences remain manageable
Woodside (California), Nov 16 (PTI) The US-China Summit meeting concluded at a sprawling mansion here with Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping agreeing to work towards ensuring that the differences between the two countries remain manageable and the relations do not derail.
Meeting in person for the first time in over a year, Biden and Xi spent time together for more than four hours at the Filoli mansion estate in Woodside, about 40 km south of San Francisco, in various settings that included an expanded bilateral, lunch and a walk in the garden of the mansion.
Seated across a long table along with their respective delegations, the two leaders, facing each other, underscored that it was in the interest of the two countries to avoid confrontation and instead focus on cooperation.
The discussions, according to a senior administration, were open, frank, and candid. Biden was able to convey his views and concerns directly to Xi, who is understood to have responded with his own set of arguments.
During the meeting, the two leaders were able to discuss a host of issues including bilateral ties, regional and key global issues like Iran, the Middle East, Ukraine, Taiwan, Indo-Pacific, economic issues, artificial intelligence, drugs, and climate change.
Following the meeting, China agreed to act against companies that engage in illegal drug trade in the US, according to a senior administration official.
The two leaders also agreed on the resumption of military-to-military level talks with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart taking the lead, while the PACIFIC Commander has operational-level engagement with his counterparts in China, he said.
Finally, the two countries also agreed to have an engagement on the issue of artificial intelligence, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity soon after the talks were over.
President Xi made it clear that he wanted to stabilise the relationship with the United States, the official said, adding that Biden was very direct with Xi and told him that China did not provide a level playing field to the US companies.
Xi also expressed his own set of concerns and asserted that the reporting on the Communist Party of China in the US was not fair while strongly denying the reports that China was headed towards invading Taiwan.
The two leaders had a substantial discussion on Taiwan with Xi terming it as the most dangerous aspect of the US-China relationship.
While Biden said the US believes in the status quo, Xi said peace is good, but at some point, they need to move towards resolutions of the issue.
Biden and Xi also talked about the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine. The US president talked about China weighing in on Iran in the Middle East.
The meeting was held at the picturesque Filoli Estate — a country house set in 16 acres of formal gardens surrounded by a 654-acre estate. Located in Woodside, California, about 40 km south of San Francisco, it has hosted several high-profile weddings and is a preferred location for the film industry.
According to the senior official, Biden extended his wishes to Xi’s wife on her birthday next week. The Chinese president thanked his US counterpart for reminding him, saying he was so busy with work that he had forgotten about it.
The US delegation led by Biden had about 10-11 senior officials and the composition of the Chinese delegation was more or less in the same manner. According to the senior administration official, the Biden-Xi meeting cannot be described as G2 as it was a “strategic calibration”.
Chinese, according to the official, are beginning to realise that there is an undeniable competitive aspect of this relationship.
Earlier, Xi, who attended the APEC Leadership Summit at the invitation of Biden, said Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed, and one country’s success is an opportunity for the other.
The Chinese president, in his remarks, said, “It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. Conflicts and confrontations have unbearable consequences for both sides. I’m still of the view that major country competition is not the prevailing trend of current times and cannot solve the problems facing China and the United States.”
It is an objective fact that China and the United States are different in history, culture, social system, and development path. However, as long as they respect each other, coexistent peace and pursue winning cooperation, they will be fully capable of rising above differences and finding the right way for the two major countries to get along with each other, Xi said.
Xi noted that a lot has happened since they last met in Bali, Indonesia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in November 2022. Since then, the world has emerged from the Covid pandemic but is still under its tremendous impact. The global economy is recovering, but its momentum remains sluggish. Industrial and supply chains are still under the threat of interruption and protectionism is rising. All these are grave problems, he said.
The China-US relationship, which is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, should be perceived and envisioned in a broad context of the accelerating global transformations seen in a century.
“It should develop in a way that benefits two peoples and fulfils our responsibility for human progress,” Xi said.
Meanwhile, Biden in his welcome remarks at the start of the bilateral meeting said, “We have to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict and we also have to manage it responsibly.”
“That’s what the United States wants and what we intend to do. I also believe it’s a world wants for both of us candid exchange. We also have a responsibility to our people and the world to work together when we see it in our interest to do so. The critical global challenges we face from climate change to narcotics, and artificial intelligence demand our joint efforts,” he said.
Welcoming Xi to the US, Biden said since their last meeting in Bali, on the sidelines of the G20, the key members of the two governments have had important discussions on issues matters to both the nations and to the world.
“But as always, there’s no substitute for face-to-face discussions. I’ve always found our discussions straightforward and frank, and I’ve always appreciated them,” Biden said.
Observing that he has known Xi for a long time, Biden said they haven’t always agreed, which was not surprising to anyone.
“But our meetings have always been candid, straightforward, and useful. I’ve never doubted what you’ve told me in terms of your candid nature in what you speak. I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader with no misconceptions or miscommunication,” he said.