U.S.-China Summit Breaks Down Turbulent Walls

In a recent summit on November 15, 2023, President Joe Biden met with President Xi Jinping of China to discuss topics pertaining to China-U.S. relations. Following the summit, Biden stated he believes Jinping to be a dictator “in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different from [the US],” (CNN). Although Biden’s comment tainted the positive outcome of the meeting between the two leaders, he called the talks “productive” and progress was made toward changing and repairing the tense relationship between the two nations.

The meeting was part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in San Fransisco, an organization of 21 economies that promotes trade and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and has met annually since 1989.

A considerable leap forward in the two countries’ relations came with the announcement that China and the U.S. have agreed to restore communications between their two militaries. The objective of the tie is to reestablish key military channels, as well as lower tensions between both countries. Additionally, Biden and Jinping agreed to establish counternarcotics operations in collaboration with the U.S. and to limit the shipment of chemicals used to produce fentanyl amid the growth of a fentanyl crisis, according to the Associated Press.

Though both Biden and Jinping were notably absent from the COP28 Climate Change Conference, occurring from November 30 to December 12, both presidents acknowledged and agreed upon restarting climate talks, specifically working to increase renewable energy use and rein in the production of methane (The Associated Press).   

The summit ended on an overall positive note, with Biden reinforcing that because he and Jinping have known each other for over a decade, the two know how to work together and cooperate with each other. Regarding their relationship, Jinping added that the U.S. and China “turning their back on each other is not an option,” (The Washimgton Post). Biden and Jinping agreed that if there were any major concerns regarding either country in the future, communication between the two is vital. Biden emphasized the point of communication between the countries, stating, “We should pick up the phone, call one another, and we’ll take the call. That’s important progress,” (The Washington Post). The agreements offer a hopeful outlook on past icy tensions. However, China’s accusation on December 4 that the presence of a U.S. warship in the South China Sea violated its sovereignty (Reuters) shows that there is still far to go.

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