Biden meets Xi as US-China military and economic tensions continue to escalate. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and Chinese Leader Xi Jinping will meet for the first time in a year to discuss issues that could defuse tensions between the rival giants on artificial intelligence, drug trafficking, and military conflicts.
Deep progress on the enormous gaps that separate the world’s economic heavyweights could have to wait until another day.
Expectations are low as Biden and Xi debate issues that the leaders have been unable to resolve for a long time, including human rights, North Korea, the South China Sea, Taiwan, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Tuesday saw the arrival of Biden and Xi in San Francisco, where they were scheduled to meet for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
Leaders of the 21-member alliance, accompanied by hundreds of CEOs in San Francisco to court them, convene in the context of China’s economic downturn, Beijing’s brewing territorial disputes with surrounding nations, and a Middle East crisis alienating the US from its allies.
Despite efforts to remove homeless people from the streets, the city in unrest in Northern California may upend the meticulous planning that went into organizing Xi’s visit. Protesters supporting and opposing China’s governing Communist Party clogged the path from the airport to the conference venue, an unusual sight for Xi, who last traveled to the US in 2017.
In an attempt to save the steadily deteriorating bilateral relations, Biden has pursued direct diplomacy with Xi, staking his claim on a personal rapport he has built with the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong over a dozen years.
Far from the conference site, at a large estate mile outside of San Francisco that was specifically picked for its security, tranquility, and remoteness, Xi and Biden are anticipated to meet.