Wang Yi meets Joe Biden, calls for joint effort for potential meeting of heads of state in San Francisco
Published: Oct 28, 2023 02:21 PM


China's top diplomat and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with US President Joe Biden in the White House on Friday local time. The purpose of this visit was to communicate with the US and effectively implement the important consensus reached at the meeting between the two heads of state in Bali last year, and look forward to San Francisco, in order to promote the stabilization and recovery of China-US relations for it to quickly return to a healthy and stable development track, Wang told Biden.

Analysts said Wang's visit marks an extension of the warming atmosphere in China-US high-level interactions since May this year and was set to create the necessary conditions and pave way for higher level exchanges between the two countries. The onus of putting bilateral relations on track lies entirely on the US, as the US is urged to abandon its selfish and condescending gestures in ties with China like cracking down on China in some areas to maintain the US' hegemony. 

During his meeting with Biden, Wang, also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, stated that the one-China principle and the three joint communiqués between China and the US are the most important political foundation for bilateral relations, and must be upheld without interference.

China attaches importance to the US desire for stabilizing and improving bilateral relations, Wang said, noting that all parties should act responsibly toward the world, history, and people, and promote the stable and positive development of China-US relations based on the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping. This not only serves the fundamental interests of both countries and their peoples but also meets the common expectations of the international community.

Biden expressed that the US side is willing to maintain communication with China and work together to address global challenges.

During his US visit, Wang also held talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

"Taiwan secessionism" is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the biggest challenge to China-US relations, and must be firmly opposed in specific policies and action, Wang told Sullivan. The two agreed to a joint effort for a potential meeting between the two heads of state in San Francisco.

Wang and Sullivan engaged in communication on issues of mutual concern, including China-US relations, high-level exchanges between the two countries, and the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Chinese experts said that Wang's visit took place at the invitation of Blinken, and the series of talks he had with US high-level officials demonstrated the US' strong desire to both stabilize and enhance wide-ranging communication with China.

Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, said that the Biden administration's eagerness in reaching out to China was partly out of hope for a successful and productive hosting of APEC, as it tries to send a signal to a domestic audience that Biden is capable of stabilizing China-US relations while engaging in intense competition with Beijing. 

The US is set to host APEC in 2023 under the theme of "Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All" in San Francisco.

Diao Daming, an associate professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday that "the accelerated interaction between China and the US has led to a more stable atmosphere between the two countries. Only if a similar tone is maintained will more higher-level exchanges have meaning." 

Diao pointed out that Wang's reference to "looking forward to San Francisco" means the two countries are making an effort to create a more favorable atmosphere for potential higher level meetings.

Ball on US court

When meeting with Blinken on Thursday, Wang said that jarring voices are often heard on China-US relations, but China is calm about them because China believes the criterion for right and wrong is not determined by who has more bravado or a louder voice, but by whether one behaves in line with the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, with the international law and the basic norms of international relations, and with the trend of the times.

Diao pointed out that the US is now exercising a "à la carte" manner of cooperating with China, which means the US points out areas it is willing to cooperate while still cracking down on China in other areas to maintain its hegemony.

For example, on Thursday, the US Indo-Pacific Command claimed that a Chinese fighter jet executed an "unsafe intercept" of a US Air Force B-52 aircraft over the South China Sea this week, according to US media.

To show the truth of the US' close-in reconnaissance on China's doorstep, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense published video footage to show that the US is the provoker and trouble maker.

Chinese experts said if the US is sincere in pushing for a meeting between the two heads of state, it should abandon its double-faced and condescending behavior, commit in actions to create benign atmosphere between the two countries.

Diao noted that if the meeting between the heads of state is realized, it will not only inject crucial vitality to bilateral relations, but also help create global stability for a world in turmoil.

Wu said that the window opportunity for the two countries to stabilize ties is rather short, as China will closely watch if the US will return to its reckless crackdown on China after the possible higher-level meeting.

Moreover, bilateral relations also face pressure from 2024 elections for Taiwan's regional leader. If Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party continues to govern, the cross-Straits relations will further strain. The tension may also spill over into the China-US relations, potentially bringing an end to the recent period of easing tensions, said Wu.

The next year's US election also poses a challenge as playing "China card" is a usual tactic by presidential candidates, Wu noted, saying that so far, the China-US relation is easing rather than improving; whether the goal of improvement can be achieved through higher-level meetings is yet to be seen.