Joe Biden met with Friday at San Francisco his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to talk about immigration, always with the rivalry in the background. with China.
The two men competed in pleasantries at the start of their interview, on the sidelines of an economic summit bringing together several countries from the Pacific rim in California.
The American president, noting that his counterpart was seated next to his wife Jill Biden the day before at the official summit dinner, joked: “You were so captivating that I was afraid that from now on she would prefer you to me.”
He then said, more seriously, that he could not have a “better partner” than Mexico in the face of the challenges of the moment.
– “Not easy” –
Joe Biden thanked his counterpart for helping him “meet the challenge” of the migration crisis on the border of the two countries, recognizing: “I know it is not easy.”
He also discussed the work of the two countries, whose economies are very closely linked, on industrial production chains, and against the trafficking of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate causing tens of thousands of overdoses each year in the United States.
The Mexican president described the relationship between the two countries as “excellent” and praised his host, an “extraordinary president” and a man “of convictions.”< /p>
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (l) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping following a meeting on the sidelines of the Apec summit, November 16, 2023 in San Francisco, California © Mexican Presidency – Handout
The interview is organized the day after a meeting between “AMLO” and Chinese President Xi Jinping, demonstrating the intense competition between the United States and China right at the gates of America.< /p>
According to a statement published by the Xinhua news agency, the Chinese leader “called for expanding cooperation between China and Mexico in finance, electric vehicles and other industries”, while “deepening cooperation” in infrastructure.
– China –
Beijing has invested massively in many emerging countries, including Latin America, as part of a gigantic infrastructure financing program called ” The new Silk Roads.”
Joe Biden is keen to offer the countries concerned an attractive alternative, for example by concluding various and varied agreements within Apec.
Migrants cross the Rio Grande River from Mexico to Eagle Pass, Texas, August 25, 2023 © AFP – SUZANNE CORDEIRO
With Mexico, of which the United States is by far the largest economic partner, the American president has another priority: responding to the arrivals of migrants in large numbers at the border between the two countries, which is more than 3,000 kilometers long.
The Democrat is seeking a second term, and faces repeated attacks from his political adversaries against his migration policy, but also growing discontent from certain local Democratic officials.
Joe Biden assures that he wants to approach the question of immigration with “humanity”, while taking, in fact, decisions which clearly restrict access to American territory.
– Wall –< /p>
The Mexican leader had recently described as a “step backwards” the resumption of work to build a wall on the border, a project dear to former US President Donald Trump and which Joe Biden says he is legally obliged to do continue.
Aerial view of migrants waiting along the border wall to surrender to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States, May 11, 2023 in El Paso, in Texas © AFP – Patrick T. Fallon
On Friday, “AMLO”, more conciliatory, thanked his counterpart for having put in place legal immigration channels.
He also said he was “fully aware of the devastation” caused by fentanyl in the United States, and assured that he would help fight this trafficking out of “solidarity”.
This is also about 'a subject which is poisoning the re-election campaign of the 80-year-old Democrat.
The drug, made from products very often coming from China, is according to Washington introduced into the United States by Mexican cartels.< /p>
– Commerce –
Joe Biden had also obtained from Xi Jinping a commitment to fight more against this trafficking, during a summit on Wednesday between the two presidents, which made it possible to renew a dialogue that had been pending for a year.
US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping greet each other before a meeting at the Apec summit on November 15, 2023 in Woodside, California © AFP – Brendan SMIALOWSKI
The two superpowers promised Friday to continue their high-level discussions on a particularly contentious subject: trade.
Washington, which accuses Beijing of unfair maneuvers, and which invokes national security, stacks up trade and technological measures against China.
To the great dismay of the Asian giant, whose economic engine is failing.
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