During their meeting ahead of the Group of 20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia on November 14, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden conducted a candid and in-depth exchange of opinions on a wide range of issues concerning bilateral ties and global priorities as the world watched.
As many people worry the tense Sino-American status quo may lead the world to a confrontation of two camps and turn globalization into fragmentation, the meeting between the nations’ two top leaders does in fact has sent a positive signal, Wang Yiwei, Director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China, told Beijing Review.
The positive thing is that the Xi-Biden meeting took place. These men haven’t met in person since Biden was vice president during Barack Obama’s presidency (2009-17), Josef Gregory Mahoney, a professor of politics and international relations at East China Normal University, told Beijing Review. “There’s just so much more that can be gained from meeting in person instead of online,” he added.
It allowed the two statesmen to publicly declare that they see the other as an ally in the fight against some of the world’s most pressing problems, Anthony Moretti, an associate professor at Robert Morris University, the U.S., told Beijing Review.
“Only when both sides meet each other halfway, can we bring bilateral relations back on the track of stable development,” Zhao Minghao, a professor at the Institute of International Studies under Shanghai-based Fudan University, explained.
However, some questions remain. “Can Biden do more than talk the talk? Does he want to turn the corner and seek common ground in lieu of advancing an already faltering containment strategy? [The] meeting was a positive step, but no indication of real change,” Mahoney said.
Mahoney also shared further concerns as he believes no real breakthroughs have been made. The two sides made no announcement of a resumption of bilateral talks on climate change or military-to-military communication--two issues that are baselines for mitigating dangers associated with potentially existential threats. “Although no breakthrough on the [U.S.-initiated] trade war was expected, many still listened for one and heard nothing,” he added.
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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