Anticipation building ahead of China-US San Francisco summit
Published: Nov 11, 2023 12:49 PM
Photo: IC

Photo: IC

On Friday evening Beijing time, China and the US simultaneously announced that President Xi Jinping will travel to San Francisco for a China-US summit and attend the 30th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting at the invitation of the US. Speculation about a possible meeting between the heads of state of China and the US during the APEC meeting in San Francisco has been circulating around the international community for a while, and now it has finally been officially confirmed.

Senior officials from China and the US have put in a lot of preparation to pave the way for the meeting. In recent months, the frequent exchange of visits and meetings between high-level officials from the two countries have, in one way or another, been seen as a precursor to the summit. Although there are profound differences and multiple points of tension between China and the US, both countries and broad public sentiment have maintained their expectations for this summit, hoping that it will play a role in stabilizing relations between the two countries and create some kind of turning point. How China-US relations develop will surely have a deep influence on the atmosphere of the entire international politics.

People have noticed that the US has been very active in achieving a meeting between the two heads of state in San Francisco. US officials and mainstream media constantly mentioned the possibility of a meeting and flagged issues that the US is most eager to discuss. Recently, both China and the US released videos of their military aircraft and warships getting extremely close and confronting each other in China's offshore waters. The US clearly realizes that the military pressure it has exerted has not worked. China is very determined to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and national security. The US is unwilling to back off, and is concerned about a potential flashpoint triggering a military conflict. This is one of the top priorities Washington  wants to discuss. In the words of the US, it really wants to restore the channels of military communication between China and the US.

Beijing did not disclose what topics will be discussed during the meeting, but the following are the things that Chinese society is most concerned about right now: The first is the Taiwan question. During his visit to Washington at the end of last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made it clear that the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is "Taiwan independence", which is also the biggest challenge facing China-US relations. Second, the US has intensified its efforts to suppress Chinese high-tech enterprises, ramping up the embargo on China's semiconductor technology, and engaging in "decoupling" to contain China. Third, it has openly incited the Philippines and others to provoke China in the South China Sea, and even came to the forefront itself, threatening the security of Chinese islands and reefs.

It is conceivable that China and the US will hold a meeting that is of great significance but not easy. However, both China and the US have a positive attitude toward this meeting, especially since the US has continued to increase pressure on China over the past years but has failed, it has sensed that China will never give in when it comes to matters of principle. As the US pushes harder, the stakes become higher. It already has a real need to stabilize China-US relations.

China has often emphasized that getting bilateral relations back on track is in the fundamental interests of both countries and their peoples. With the US going back and forth for a while, Washington should have realized that stabilizing the relations to a certain extent will do more good than harm to the US, especially for the ruling party in the US in a political sense.

Over the past few years when the two sides have encountered frictions, China and the US have gained a more objective understanding of each other's strength and capabilities. The US cannot overwhelm China, and neither side can afford a complete showdown. This actually sets a kind of bottom line for the insanity of US radical forces, and Washington should feel that it is standing close to China's bottom line.

Therefore, although China-US relations have the logic of major power relations, the meeting between the two heads of state in San Francisco will lead to optimism across the international community. Analysts believe that driven by facts and experience, both sides will be willing to enter this dialogue to produce practical results, and will become more proficient in handling stalemate issues . They will be more able to foresee the difficulties in implementing the consensus reached by the two heads of state. Global capital markets in particular displayed a positive response to the meeting.

The announcement issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday night placed the news of the meeting between Xi and Biden in San Francisco ahead of the APEC meeting. Indeed, the summit meeting will likely be the highlight of APEC . In addition, Japan also hopes to schedule a meeting between leaders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be absent from APEC. It is speculated that the US did not invite him. Even if it did, Putin would definitely not go. But there will be a Russian delegation in attendance.

The author is a media professional. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn