- 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.1
- 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.'2
- The talks saw the two leaders agree to resume military-to-military communications — which were severed after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan last year — with an anonymous senior US official claiming that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was to meet with his Chinese counterpart once Beijing appoints a defense minister.3
- According to Biden, the two confirmed that 'each one of us can pick up the phone' in order to be 'heard immediately.' The two further agreed to increase crackdowns on fentanyl production, as well as to engage in further discussions concerning the risks of artificial intelligence.4
- However, when asked whether he stood by comments earlier in the year describing Xi as a dictator, Biden reaffirmed his stance under the prefix that the Chinese president ran a 'communist country' based on a 'form of government totally different to ours.'5
- A Chinese Foreign Ministry readout claimed that Xi called on Biden and the US to 'stop arming Taiwan,' describing reunification as 'unstoppable,' while a senior US official stated that Biden asked Xi to respect the self-governing island's upcoming elections while affirming that Washington's 'long-standing position' wouldn't change.6
- Pro-China narrative, as provided by China Daily. 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, as provided by NPR Online News. 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, as provided by Politico. 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.