Presidents Biden and Xi Agree on Détente

Virtual meeting builds no new “guardrails” around Taiwan issue. 

A virtual meeting occurred Monday between President Biden and China’s President Xi but no agreements were reached between the two major leaders. They began by exchanging “good to speak with you, old friend” pleasantries, but the affable greetings eventually turned toward more serious matters as President Biden raised concerns about human rights, Chinese aggression toward Taiwan, and trade issues. Throughout, the leaders engaged in a “healthy debate,” according to a senior administration official who was present for the discussions. 

Their phone “summit” lasted three and a half hours, longer than planned, but it allowed each ample opportunity to diverge from their prepared talking points. Through it all, they remained “respectful and straightforward,” the official said. 

Yet, there were no major breakthroughs. Afterward, the senior reporting official said, “I don’t think the purpose was particularly to ease tensions, or that that was the result. We want to make sure the competition is responsibly managed, that we have ways to do that. The President’s been quite clear he’s going to engage in that stiff competition….The President was very clear in reaffirming very long standing U.S. policy and raising very clear concerns, but the idea of establishing specific guardrails in respect to Taiwan was not part of the conversation.” 

“Both leaders will remain laser-focused on shoring up their public base of support and addressing their respective domestic woes, rather than with antagonizing one another,” the official predicted. “However deceptive, this coming détente will provide each leader with some much-needed breathing room. That is until next year’s 20th Party Congress in China and the U.S. midterm elections. After that, it is truly anyone’s guess how the bilateral relationship unfolds.” 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the president and his advisors as they work at easing tensions between the U.S. and China over many issues. 
  • For U.S. officials as they interpret and commit to responsibilities on behalf of Taiwan. 

Sources: CNN, Washington Examiner 


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