In relations between the United States and China, which have always been difficult, there has been a warming, albeit timid, but warming. US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a virtual meeting: online negotiations lasted more than three hours. This step demonstrated that Washington and Beijing obviously want to get out of at least the stage of outright confrontation. But the past conversation is only the first step on this path.
The plans for a conversation between the two leaders had been known for a long time, but observers in both countries were mostly skeptical, suggesting that the case would end in an exchange of reproaches. Such fears looked understandable: in the end, under the administration of former US President Donald Trump, who did not hesitate in regular attacks on the Celestial Empire, bilateral relations seemed to have sagged as much as possible.
Even more surprising was the length of the conversation between Biden and Chairman Xi – more than three hours – and the official comments that followed.
– The conversation was respectful and straightforward, and it was open, – noted, in particular, in the White House.
A lot of topical topics for conversation have accumulated: these are bilateral trade relations, and the status of Taiwan (Biden, according to American representatives, assured Xi of his commitment to the concept of “one China”), and the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and even a “nuclear deal” with Iran. … At the same time, the White House did not mention any serious contradictions, noting the constructive nature of the dialogue. At the same time, Washington stressed that they did not expect any breakthroughs from the virtual meeting. It would seem that everyone is happy.
However, according to some political analysts, Biden’s demonstration of “rapprochement” with Beijing is just a maneuver against the background of an actual intensification of anti-Chinese activity, in particular, the creation of the AUKUS bloc, which includes Australia, Great Britain and the United States. The purpose of the alliance, whose name, in fact, is made up of the first letters of the names of the participating countries, is to protect “common interests in the Indo-Pacific region.” And you don’t have to be a psychic to understand which potential enemy is in question in the first place.
However, even against this background, the negotiations between Biden and Xi are a significant contribution to the process of reducing global tensions. As Andrei VINOGRADOV, head of the Center for Political Research and Forecasts at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, noted in an interview with MK, the dialogue between the leaders testifies to at least two things: the problem of relations between the United States and China is extremely serious, and both sides fully understand this.
“The fact that the conversation lasted more than three hours proves that Washington and Beijing would like to avoid further aggravation, using all available opportunities for this. – our interlocutor emphasized. – As for the results of the negotiations and speculations regarding Biden’s deliberate misleading by Biden, one must understand: at this level, they don’t lie. The fact is that the contradictions between the United States and China are extremely deep and therefore do not have an easy solution. The search for a way out of the bilateral crisis has to be virtually constant. The past meeting is only one of the steps on this path, therefore, one should not expect momentary breakthroughs from it. In my opinion, from the point of view of, let’s say, psychology, this is one example of China occupying a new, even higher than before, place in the architecture of international relations.
At the same time, the expert notes, it is not worth talking about whether or not Beijing will appreciate the steps of the new American administration halfway: it is about finding a mutually beneficial compromise.
“Both sides realized that they were losing too much from the ongoing confrontation,” concludes Vinogradov. – There is a fundamental conflict, a value conflict, and there are pragmatic interests, primarily economic ones, on which the confrontation painfully affects both the United States and China, especially in the context of a pandemic. Therefore, the meeting was dictated by the desire to come to an agreement. Suffice it to recall that, for example, last year the Chinese signed an agreement on the purchase of American products for $ 200 billion. They decided to buy the goods they needed, that is, this is a compromise both with the United States and within the PRC itself. In this context, the past negotiations, in my opinion, may well be continued. “