Focus on the BIG picture.

Biden and Xi Hold Tense Discussion on US-China Cooperation and Conflict: Taiwan, Economics, and South China Sea

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a call to address tensions between their countries.
They discussed cooperation on climate change and narcotics, but disagreed on Taiwan and economic issues.

Biden expressed support for Taiwan, while Xi considered US interference in the South China Sea a red line.

Xi criticized US sanctions on China and Chinese-owned companies, vowing to defend China's high-tech development and right to development if the US continues its actions.

The White House and Chinese state media described a "candid and constructive" conversation between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, covering topics such as AI concerns and military communications.

Experts noted that while the call did not significantly change the relationship status, it was largely performative to demonstrate commitment to managing it well, despite ongoing tensions and negative dynamics.

Significant divisions were expressed during the hour-long call.

During a call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden, Xi expressed concern over Washington's support of Taiwan and sanctions against China, stating it increases risk rather than reducing it.

Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to Taiwan and maintaining peace in the region, while also addressing China's support for Russia, trade policies, and security threats.

Yun Sun, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center, noted that while Taiwan is a top priority for China, the US has other concerns as well.

Mr. Daly explained that while both leaders discussed cooperation and conversation during their recent meeting, it does not indicate a thaw in US-China relations.

The meeting was described as damage control and responsible management of the contentious relationship between the two superpowers.

Neither leader is seeking to change the relationship's tone.

The presidents previously met in November at the APEC summit to address climate change and fentanyl trafficking, which was seen as an attempt to ease tensions after a US warplane shot down a Chinese spy balloon.

The leaders' discussion, which also touched on climate change and drug trafficking, occurred before several upcoming events that could impact US-China relations.

Next month, Taiwan will inaugurate its new president, William Lai Ching-te, who has been criticized by Beijing as a "troublemaker" and "separatist." The inauguration may have influenced a recent call between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Upcoming diplomatic meetings between the US and China include visits from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
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