Joe Biden, Xi Jinping and their delegation during the summit between the two countries on November 15, 2023 in Woodside, California © AFP – Brendan Smialowski
“I firmly believe in a promising future for the bilateral relationship”, said said Xi Jinping.
No joint statement is expected at the end of the meeting but Joe Biden plans to give a press conference.
Before the meeting, the two countries have launched a joint climate task force to strengthen their coordination on “one of the greatest challenges of our time”.
The relationship between China and the United States frankly turned sour with the flight over American territory by a Chinese balloon at the start of the year. Washington denounced a spying operation, which China denied.
In March, Xi Jinping denounced an American strategy of “encirclement”, while the United States is strengthening its alliances in Asia -Pacific and pile up economic sanctions on China.
However, the tone softened enough in the summer to allow the organization of the Californian face-to-face.
Joe Biden, campaigning for a second term, and Xi Jinping, faced with a degraded economic and social situation in China, ultimately have an interest in keeping the rivalry under control throughout a potentially tumultuous 2024, with an election presidential election in the United States and Taiwan.
The status of the island, of which Beijing claims sovereignty and to which Washington provides substantial military assistance, remains a central subject of friction.
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Xi Jinping arriving in San Francisco, November 14, 2023 © AFP – Frederic J. BROWN
Joe Biden “will make it clear (…) that we do not support the independence of Taiwan” and “that we do not want the status quo to change unilaterally, and certainly not by force”, indicated a spokesperson speech from the White House, John Kirby, reaffirming the deliberately ambiguous position of the United States.
Washington also asks China, an ally of Iran and Russia, not to aggravate major crises international: the conflict between Israel and Hamas as well as the war in Ukraine.
The American president wants above all to restore military communications, known as “mil-mil”, between the two nuclear powers, suspended for more than of one year.
A senior US official indicated that the two leaders could decide on “preliminary steps” in this direction on Wednesday.
He also indicated that Washington hoped to seal during the meeting on “progress” in the fight against fentanyl trafficking.
This powerful synthetic opiate produced with chemical compounds originating in particular from China causes tens of thousands of overdoses each year in the United States.
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