Rapprochement building up as presidents Xi and Biden talk for the third time

Xi identified four priority areas where China and the US should focus their efforts on.

In Summary

•President Xi said the Chinese people's aspiration for a better life is the biggest internal driver for China's development and an inevitable trend of history.

•Any attempt to stop this historical trend will be rejected by the Chinese people, and will by no means succeed. 

US President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House in Washington, DC.
US President Joe Biden speaks virtually with Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the White House in Washington, DC.
Image: REUTERS

The third virtual meeting between the presidents of China and the United States took place on the morning of November 16.

Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, respectively, held a cordial meeting that analysts say contributed to the thawing of relations and easing of hard feelings between the two erstwhile allies.

According to a report of the meeting as published by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two sides had thorough and in-depth communication and exchanges on issues of strategic, overarching and fundamental importance shaping the development of China-US relations and on important issues of mutual interest.

Xi pointed out that both China and the US are at critical stages of development, and humanity faces multiple challenges. As the world's two largest economies and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the US need to increase communication and cooperation, shoulder their share of international responsibilities, and work together to advance world peace and development.

Xi stressed that a sound and stable China-US relationship is required for advancing the two countries' respective development and for safeguarding a peaceful and stable international environment, including finding effective responses to global challenges such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. China and the US should respect each other, coexist in peace, and pursue win-win cooperation.

The Chinese President noted that for the two countries to get along in the new era, three principles must be followed. First is mutual respect. The two countries need to respect each other's social systems and development paths, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and respect each other's right to development.

Second is peaceful coexistence. No conflict and no confrontation is a line that both sides must hold. Third is win-win cooperation. With their interests deeply intertwined, China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation.

PRESIDENT XI

A sound and stable China-US relationship is required for advancing the two countries' respective development and for safeguarding a peaceful and stable international environment, including finding effective responses to global challenges such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Further, Xi identified four priority areas where China and the US should focus their efforts on. The first is to shoulder responsibilities of major countries and leading global response to outstanding challenges.

China-US cooperation may not solve all problems, but few problems can be solved without China-US cooperation. The second area is acting in the spirit of equality and mutual benefit to move forward exchanges at all levels and in all areas and generate more positive energy for China-US relations.

The two countries, with broad common interests in a wide range of areas including economy, energy, mil-to-mil, law-enforcement, education, science and technology, cyber, environmental protection and sub-national interactions should complement each other to make the cake bigger for China-US cooperation.

The two sides could fully harness the dialogue channels and mechanisms between their diplomatic and security, economic and financial, and climate change teams, in an effort to advance practical cooperation and resolve specific issues.

Thirdly, the two major countries should manage differences and sensitive issues in a constructive manner to prevent China-US relations from getting derailed or out of control. The key is to manage differences constructively so that they don't magnify or exacerbate. China will certainly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.

The fourth is strengthening coordination and cooperation on major international and regional hotspot issues to provide more public goods to the world.

The world is not tranquil. China and the US need to work together with the rest of the international community to defend world peace, promote global development, and safeguard a fair and equitable international order.

President Xi said the Chinese people's aspiration for a better life is the biggest internal driver for China's development and an inevitable trend of history. Any attempt to stop this historical trend will be rejected by the Chinese people, and will by no means succeed.

An image of the two leaders provided by CGTN during the meeting.
An image of the two leaders provided by CGTN during the meeting.

He added that as China's leader, serving the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens and working with them for a better life is a great challenge and a great responsibility.

He noted the new wave of tensions across the Taiwan Strait, and ascribed the tensions to the repeated attempts by the Taiwan authorities to look for US support for their independence agenda as well as the intention of some Americans to use Taiwan to contain China.

The one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués are the political foundation of China-US relations. There is but one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China, and the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing China.

On trade, Xi described the China-US economic and trade relations as mutually beneficial. Economic and trade issues between the two countries should not be politicised.

On climate change, he recalled China-US cooperation that helped bring about the Paris Agreement. As both countries are transitioning to green and low-carbon economy, climate change can well become a new highlight of cooperation.

The president said that solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon for the international community to defeat Covid-19 and the response to any major disease must be based on science, not politics.

China and the US need to call for the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for global public health and communicable disease prevention and control, and promote further international exchanges and cooperation.

The writer is the Executive Director of South-South Dialogues, a Nairobi based research and development communication think tank.