Leaders of the U.S. and China held a nearly three and a half hours virtual meeting at the end of the UN Climate Change Conference 2021, Glasgow in which the China’s President was not physically attending. The two presidents were accompanied by a group of senior assistants in the meeting. The U.S. officials said the talks were aimed at providing assurances to both sides that misunderstandings will not lead to unintended conflicts. In separate statements issued after the end of the talks, each side stressed on differences of opinion which were of greater importance.
White House said that Biden expressed concern about the violation of human rights as well as unjust trade and economic policies of China. Reciprocally, Xi said the U.S. support for Taiwan “is like playing with fire” and warned that the division of the world into unions and blocs is one of the strategic pillars of Biden’s Administration to challenge China through cooperation with her neighbors, will inevitably lead to a tragedy for the world.
Both sides discussed about differences of opinion over diverging issues like the future of Taiwan, militarization of South China Sea, the status of human rights in China, trade war between the two countries and deterring a new cold war.
According to the reports carried by the Chinese state media, Mr. Xi told Biden:” We are patient and we are interested in making effort for a perspective of a peaceful reunion with maximum sincerity; but if the separatist forces instigate the independence of Taiwan or pass over our red lines, China will take crucial measures.
Xi criticized the U.S. politicians who according to him are looking for using the situation of the Island as a leverage of pressure against Beijing, the process which was defined by him as dangerous. There is no issue between the U.S. and China as controversial as the destiny of Taiwan.
Senior leaders of the U.S. and China had no clear breakthroughs on trade issues in the course of their virtual meeting, but they expressed hope about the potential of future business deals. Biden has time and again demanded Beijing to abide by the early last year agreement to import more American Made commodities. Reciprocally, Xi defined the bilateral trade relations as useful. In the meantime, he called for un-politicizing trade relations between the two countries.
Biden Criticized China for Human Rights
The U.S. Administration has taken strong position against the human rights in China and has maintained and even expanded the sanctions of Trump period related to genocide in Xin Chiang and also imposition of strict national security law as well as cancellation of many democratic traditions in Hong Kong. During the virtual meeting, Biden expressly criticized Xi about the U.S. concern of the status of human rights in China.
Xi Jinping defended many times the political system of China and said while he was interested in exchanging the views about the human rights, but he could not tolerate the intervention in the internal affairs of his country.
The U.S. and China issued a surprising joint statement in the course of the UN Climate Change Conference and pledged to take more actions to reduce the global temperature within this decade and to reduce the exertion of methane and carbon. The statement of the two major producers of green-house gases of the world was short in terms of details but it is considered as an important signal of Washington and Beijing willingness to cooperate in common challenges.
Climate policy is among the rare areas in which the U.S. and China seem to have a similar position. In the UN Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow during November 2021, the two countries as the two largest source of pollution in the world signed a surprising pact to take more actions to reduce the exertion of green-house gases in 2020s. The two leaders dealt with the raison d’etre of weather crisis of the world. However, there are still unaddressed details about the modality of cooperation between the two states with each other.
With rising friction between Beijing and Washington, there comes a question into one’s mind whether the two countries are heading towards a new cold war or something completely different is going to emerge?
The Leaders of the U.S. and China Called as “Historic Mistake the Behavior of Cold War Era”
Amid the rare areas of agreement between the leaders of China and the U.S. was the issue of directing the relations towards the cold war era as a mistake at historic scales. In the course of the recent talks, China’s leader implicitly criticized Biden’s efforts to mobilize a coalition of countries that have a democratic way of thinking to confront with China. He said in the meeting that:” stressing on ideological boundaries will inevitably lead to a tragedy for the world”. In the statement issued by Chinese side followed by the talks “the possibility of emergence of a new cold war is not unlikely” was referred to.
Biden has reciprocally stressed that the U.S. is not looking for a cold war. Jake Sullivan, his National Security Advisor said last week:” We have the right to choose not to go after this. The virtual Summit Meeting is a part of the White House effort to reassure that the right choice is made, and events as well as misunderstandings will not veer us”.
There are many reasons to the argument that what happens today is completely different from the cold war. The extent of economic exchanges and other profound inter-dependence links, as well as interlarded relations between the U.S. and China are so extensive and complicated that are quite different from those of the cold war era and relations with the Soviet Union. Xi and Biden are both aware of this and talked together about its dangers.
Yet, Mr. Biden has time and again referred to the generation struggle between “despotism and democracy” in 2021, and reminded the competitions of 1950s and 1960s. Likewise, Mr. Xi stressed for moments on assurance of non-reliance of China on the West for vital technologies and assurance of reliance of the West on China.
Economic Strength & Rising Military Power China; the Main Challenge for U.S. National Security
Yet, there is no doubt that within the past few months, and based on available evidences, the cold war behavior has been echoed between the two world powers. China’s Air Force has performed several reconnaissance aerial flights over Taiwan. Beijing promoted her spatial capabilities too, and has expedited her super-sonic missile tests to overcome the U.S. defense capabilities. In the meantime, just recently a delegation from the U.S. Congress flew to Taiwan by a military plane, the trip which was quickly condemned by the Chinese Ministry of Defense. The U.S. Senior officials along with bipartisan at the Congress have specified economic strength and rising military power of China as the most important national security challenge that the U.S. is facing. Washington is looking for gathering her allies throughout the world for military and security cooperation. In the meantime, the U.S. declared in the past few months that she is going to equip Australia with her nuclear submarine technology, keeping the possibility that these submarines will perform military missions along the Chinese coasts in future.