What they want: Biden and Xi are looking for clarity in an increasingly difficult relationship

What they want: Biden and Xi are looking for clarity in an increasingly difficult relationship

President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping are set to discuss a range of challenging issues during their first talks in a year, with little expectation of major breakthroughs. The meeting, occurring on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, comes after a tumultuous year in the relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

Both leaders aim to bring more stability to their relationship, marked by disagreements on export controls, Taiwan tensions, conflicts in the Middle East and Europe, among other issues. Here’s a breakdown of what each president aims to achieve in their discussions:

Biden’s Objectives:

  • Focus on managing the intensifying economic competition between the U.S. and China.
  • Address concerns about semiconductor chip export controls while assuring Xi that the U.S. is not seeking an economic war.
  • Express the desire to reopen military-to-military communications and reestablish ties, emphasizing national security interests.
  • Affirm the U.S. stance on maintaining the status quo in Taiwan and discourage any change.
  • Urge China to use its influence over Iran to prevent actions that could escalate the Israel-Hamas conflict.
  • Warn against Chinese interference in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

Xi’s Expectations:

  • Seek assurances from Biden that the U.S. will not support Taiwan independence, initiate a new cold war, or hinder China’s economic growth.
  • Emphasize the need for dialogue, win-win cooperation, and oppose confrontation and zero-sum competition.
  • Express concerns about measures like export controls and tariffs stifling China’s economic growth.
  • Demand rollbacks in tariffs and sanctions imposed by both the Trump and Biden administrations.
  • Seek assurance that the U.S. will not impose new tariffs on China.
  • Address American business leaders to bolster confidence in China as a safe place for investment.

Xi’s overall goal is to ensure that the two countries adhere to previous agreements and avoid actions that could further strain diplomatic relations.