China-US San Francisco summit concludes, agreeing on enhancing cooperation on AI and resuming military communication
Published: Nov 16, 2023 09:43 AM
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with US President Joe Biden for a summit at the Filoli estate in the south of San Francisco on Wednesday local time. The two leaders had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on strategic, overarching, and directional issues concerning China-US relations, as well as major issues concerning world peace and development. 

The two sides agreed to promote and strengthen dialogue and cooperation in various fields, including establishing an intergovernmental dialogue on artificial intelligence, setting up a China-US drug control cooperation working group to carry out anti-drug cooperation, resuming high-level military-to-military communication, China-US defense department working meetings, China-US military maritime security consultation mechanism meetings based on equality and respect, and conducting China-US military regional leaders' conversations.

They also agreed to significantly increase flights early next year, expanding exchanges in education, international students, youth, culture, sports, and business circles, among others. 

The meeting began around 11 am on Wednesday and concluded at 1:35 pm local time, lasting for approximately two hours, according to media reports.

Following opening remarks, several sessions, and a working lunch, the two leaders closed out with a walk around the historic estate south of San Francisco, as reported by CNN. 

During the meeting, Xi pointed out that the world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century, and China and the US have two choices: one is to strengthen unity and cooperation, join hands to meet global challenges, and promote world security and prosperity. The other is to hold a zero-sum mindset, provoke bloc confrontation, and let the world head toward turmoil and division. 

These two choices represent two different directions and will determine the future of humanity and the planet. As the most important bilateral relationship in the world, China-US relations should be considered and planned against this grand backdrop, he said.

China and the US cannot turn back against each other and it is unrealistic to try to change the other, and the consequences of conflict and confrontation are unbearable for anyone, Xi stressed. "Great power competition will not solve the problems China, the US, and the world face. This planet is big enough for both China and the US. The success of each is an opportunity for the other."

Xi pointed out that China's development follows its own logic and rules, and China is advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through modernization in its own unique style. 

China does not follow the old path of colonial plunder or engage in ideological confrontation with any country. It does not export ideology either. Xi emphasized that China has no plans to surpass or replace the US, and the US should not attempt to suppress or contain China. 

President Xi also highlighted the importance of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation, which are lessons learned from the 50-year history of China-US relations and historical conflicts between great powers. These principles should guide joint efforts by China and the US.

As long as both sides adhere to mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation, it is entirely possible to transcend differences and find the correct way for two major countries to coexist, Xi said. 

At last year's Bali meeting, the US side stated that it does not seek to change China's system, does not seek a "new Cold War," does not seek to oppose China by strengthening alliances, does not support "Taiwan independence," and has no intention of having conflict with China. At this San Francisco meeting, China and the US should have a new vision, Xi said, working together to solidify the five pillars of China-US relations, including establishing correct mutual recognition, managing differences effectively, jointly promoting mutually beneficial cooperation, jointly shouldering big-power responsibilities and promoting cultural exchanges. 

On the Taiwan question, Xi emphasized that it remains the most important and sensitive issue in China-US relations, and China values the positive statements made by the US side during the Bali meeting.

The US should implement its stance of not supporting "Taiwan independence" into concrete actions, stop arming Taiwan, and support China's peaceful reunification, according to the Chinese president. 

He also highlighted that the US' continuous implementation of export control measures, investment reviews, and unilateral sanctions have severely harmed China's legitimate interests. 

Suppressing China's technology aims to contain its high-quality development and deprive the Chinese people of their right to development. Xi emphasized that China's growth follows its own internal logic, which cannot be halted by external forces. China hopes that the US will take its concerns seriously, take appropriate action, lift unilateral sanctions, and provide a fair, just, and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese enterprises.

Biden told reporters during the walk that the talks were going "well" and added on social media that "real progress" was made, according to media reports. 

The two heads of state stressed the importance of China and the US accelerating efforts to address the climate crisis during this critical decade. They welcomed the recent positive discussions between the two countries' climate envoys, including domestic emissions reduction actions in the 2020s. They also expressed their joint commitment to promoting the success of the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai (COP28) and announced the launch of the China-US Enhancing Climate Action in 2020s working group to accelerate specific climate actions. 

Some experts believe that during this highly-anticipated meeting, the Chinese leader has further clarified China's stance on China-US relations, expressing hope that the US side can fundamentally adopt a correct and responsible attitude, rather than merely making tactical adjustments.

 "This continues the tone set in Bali. Looking forward, it will be important to see whether the US can truly achieve a correct understanding," said Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, in an interview with the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Diao added that if the US can adjust its understanding and truly adopt a responsible perspective, recognizing each other's positions, effectively managing differences, and advancing mutually beneficial cooperation, it will further stabilize the relations between the two countries.

From the latest China-US summit, we can see that the expectations of both sides are beginning to align, Sun Taiyi, assistant professor of Political Science at Christopher Newport University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Neither Washington nor Beijing harbor any illusion of a rapid breakthrough or significant improvement in relations. The leaders of both countries, each for their own reasons, also see the benefits of restraining tensions at the current level to prevent further deterioration, Sun said. 

Maintaining multi-channel and multi-level communication to construct guardrails for the bilateral relationship may be the most crucial measure required, the expert noted. 

On one hand, the summit may be the last opportunity for Biden to meet with Chinese leader face-to-face during the US President's current term. On the other hand, US elections will inevitably be accompanied by politicians' various accusations and denigrating remarks about China. Some incumbents may also propose tough bills on China to sway voters, Sun noted. 

"Therefore, it will be essential to continue exploring cooperation in limited fields, activate the various working groups and communication channels that are already in place, and seek common ground while reserving differences in controversial areas," he said.