U.S.-China Summit: What Did It Achieve?

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Mr. Biden raised issues about human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, and about China’s “unfair trade and economic policies” harming American employees, the White House assertion mentioned. Mr. Xi, in line with China’s personal readout, mentioned that American help for Taiwan was “playing with fire,” and explicitly warned that the world risked slipping again into the superpower confrontations of a half-century in the past.

“Engaging in ideological demarcation, camp division, group confrontation, will inevitably bring disaster to the world,” Mr. Xi mentioned, a transparent reference to a pillar of the brand new administration’s technique for difficult China by teaming up with like-minded nations that concern China or oppose its authoritarian mannequin. “The consequence of the Cold War are not far away.”

With that reference, Mr. Xi plunged immediately into the talk now underway in Washington about whether or not the 2 powers are descending into one thing akin to the Cold War, or whether or not the deep financial, commerce and technological hyperlinks between China and the U.S. make any comparability to the outdated United States-Soviet Union relationship unattainable.

The tone of the assembly was a reminder that China, maybe inevitably, stays what Mr. Biden and his prime advisers have solid as the best geopolitical problem to the United States in its historical past. They have rejected the Cold War comparisons as overly simplistic, and as Mr. Biden’s nationwide safety adviser, Jake Sullivan, put it, “We have the choice not to do that.”

“China is going to be a factor in the international system for the foreseeable future — it’s not going anywhere,” Mr. Sullivan mentioned final week throughout a speech to the Lowy Institute in Australia. “And the United States is not going anywhere, and we’re not going anywhere in the Indo-Pacific either. And so we’re going to have to learn how to deal with that reality.”

Although the 2 leaders have spoken by phone twice this yr, the convention was meant to duplicate the extra thorough dialogue of points in earlier summits between the United States and China — one thing that has not been potential as a result of pandemic and political preoccupations have saved Mr. Xi from touring since January 2020.

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