Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with US President Joe Biden in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14, 2022. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Five Takeaways from Biden-Xi Meeting in Bali

BY :THE JAKARTA GLOBE

NOVEMBER 15, 2022

Bali. The much-awaited meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden was materialized on Monday as the leaders of the world’s biggest economies visited Indonesia’s Bali Island for the G20 Summit.

It’s the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Biden took office in January 2020.

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Biden, like his predecessor Donald Trump, is influenced by anti-China sentiments and pursuing protectionist policies in global trade due to widening income inequalities and declining manufacturing jobs at home, according to well-known economist Jeffrey Sachs.

China on the other hand has been furious about US warships' maneuvers in the waters near Taiwan and strongly condemned US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to the island.

Here are the five takeaways from the high-level meeting which lasted for three hours:

Taiwan, the first red-line
Xi told Biden that the Taiwan question is “at the very core of China's core interests”, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in the bilateral relations, reported Xinhua News Agency.

Anyone that seeks to split Taiwan from China will be violating the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and the Chinese people will absolutely not let that happen, Xi said.

Stay away from open conflict
Biden said he and Xi share a responsibility of preventing the economic and geopolitical rivalries from degrading into conflicts, and “to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever near conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation”.

Xi responded that the global community expects China and the United States will properly handle the relationship and that the Bali meeting attracted the world’s attention to bring more hope to world peace and greater confidence in global stability.

World is big enough for the US, China
There is no need for the two economic and military superpowers to pursue each other’s destruction. In Xi’s words, “the world is big enough for the two countries to develop themselves and prosper together”.

The Chinese leader said the rivalries must not become a zero-sum game and that one country’s success should provide opportunities for the other. Xi said his country has no interest in interfering in US internal affairs and has “no intention to challenge or displace the United States”.

Capitalism vs socialism
The US cannot force China into practicing the political and economic systems of the West. Xi said there are “American-style democracy and Chinese-style democracy”, which fit their respective national conditions, and called for an end to the "democracy versus authoritarianism" narrative.

While the United States is practicing capitalism, China is practicing socialism with the support of its 1.4 billion people and such a difference is nothing new and will continue to exist, Xi said.

Friendly moment
Biden congratulated Xi for his precedent-breaking reelection for the third term. “You were kind enough to call me to congratulate me, and I congratulate you as well,” Biden said. The leaders spent a lot of time together in the past, “back in the days when we were both vice presidents”, Biden said.

Xi recalled the last time they met in person was during the World Economic Forum in Davos five years ago. Since Biden won the White House, they have maintained communication via video conferences, phone calls, and letters. “But none of them can really substitute for face-to-face exchanges. And today, we finally have this face-to-face meeting,” Xi said.

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