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Xi-Biden virtual meeting sends positive signal – Experts

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CHINA: Political experts and scholars around the world view the virtual meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, as a strong signal that would enhance positive expectations of the international community on bilateral ties.

The two heads of state had a virtual meeting on Tuesday. The two sides had thorough and in-depth communication and exchanges on issues of strategic, overarching and fundamental importance shaping the development of China-U.S. relations and on important issues of mutual interest.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, told Xinhua that the virtual meeting is an applauding step in navigating the bilateral relationship to the right direction.

Noting that the meeting was “exceedingly important” and “a small uptick in the right direction, he said the importance of the online meeting has been “significantly elevated” as the world is facing serious challenges that could hardly be tackled without the U.S.-China cooperation.

Kenneth Quinn, president emeritus of the World Food Prize Foundation and former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, told Xinhua that close collaboration between the two sides is “absolutely essential” to enable humankind to meet the great challenges in the future, including food shortage, the negative impact from climate change, and public health risks.

Calling the meeting “very encouraging,” Lyazid Benhami, vice-president of the Paris Association of French-Chinese Friendship, said that the two countries have obligation not only to their peoples but also to the rest of the world.

Cavince Adhere, an international relations scholar in Kenya, said that the world expects to see more stable and sustainable relations between the two countries. This raises prospects for a more stable international system which can facilitate global cooperation for the benefit of mankind.

“The rest of the world can make little progress in addressing the international challenges without full participation and cooperation of China and the United States,” he said, referring to such issues as the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate crisis.

Herman Tiu Laurel, founder of Philippine-BRICS Strategic Studies, said that China and the United States, two major powers on earth, shoulder the hope of the entire world for a safe, secure and healthy place attaining prosperity for all, which can only be achieved by the partnership of the two.

Faced with common challenges, the commitment and efforts towards durable and permanent peace, as well as stable international political and diplomatic environment is paramount for the major powers to promise and pursue, Laurel added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden both emphasised the importance of cooperation when they met for a virtual summit on Tuesday which lasted over 3½ hours and covered a wide range of topics, has not been released, the Chinese foreign ministry and the White House have published readouts summarising the proceedings.

Here’s how they addressed key issues discussed by the two leaders.

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China: Xi emphasised that bilateral relations should be characterised by cooperation and non-interference, and highlighted the three principles of “mutual respect”, “peaceful coexistence”, and “win-win cooperation”, the ministry said.

“With their interests deeply intertwined, China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation,” Xi was quoted as saying. “The world is big enough for the two countries to develop individually and collectively.”

US: According to the White House statement, “President Biden underscored that the United States will continue to stand up for its interests and values and, together with our allies and partners, ensure the rules of the road for the 21st century advance an international system that is free, open, and fair.”

China: Xi described the heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait as a “dangerous” trend, saying that Taiwanese authorities were trying to “rely on the United States for independence”, while others in the US intended to “use Taiwan to control China”, the ministry readout said.

“Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt,” Xi was quoted as saying.

“If ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces provoke [us] or cross our red line, we will have to take decisive measures.”

US: “On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States remains committed to the one-China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques and the six assurances, and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the White House readout stated.

China: On the topic of human rights, Xi further emphasised the importance of “respect” between the US and China, but did not explicitly mention the issues of Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

“We are willing to engage in dialogue on human rights issues on the basis of mutual respect, but we do not approve of interfering in other countries’ internal affairs through human rights issues,” he said.

US: Biden raised concerns about China’s “practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly”, according to the White House statement. China: Xi Jinping said Beijing and Washington could work towards “win-win” outcomes, but warned the US not to “politicise” trade, according to the ministry.

“The US should stop abusing or overstretching the concept of national security to suppress Chinese businesses. It is imperative for China and the US to maintain communication on macroeconomic policies, support world economic recovery and guard against economic and financial risks,” he said.

US: Biden expressed the need to protect American workers and industries from China’s “unfair trade and economic practices”, the White House said.

China: Beijing harbours no intention to expand or “dominate” other regions, as “China has no intention of promoting its own path all over the world,” Xi was reported to have said, noting that China and the Chinese people have always “loved and advocated peace”.

US: On the same topic, the White House said Biden “discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the United States to uphold [its] commitments in the region”.

He also “reiterated the importance of freedom of navigation and safe overflight to the region’s prosperity”, the statement said.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


Thursday, November 18, 2021 – 01:00

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