Strains in US-China ties intact
Apparently, the meeting between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in Bali went well. One, however, is not sure if there would be any substantial improvement in the US-China relations.
Apparently, the meeting, on the sidelines of the Bali summit, between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Joe Biden, went off fine. During their meeting, the two leaders are said to have agreed to restore the channels of communication between the two nations and repair their relationships that have been impaired in the recent couple of years.
They agreed "a nuclear war should never be fought" and underscored their "opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine." One, however, is not sure if there would be any substantial improvement in the US-China relations.
Observers say US Secretary of State Antony Blinken may now be visiting China in person to follow up on the Xi-Biden meeting. It is hard to calculate there could be any major breakthrough in the US-China relations. Technology, Taiwan, Tibet and human rights remain areas of intense disagreement between Washington and Beijing.
Last month, the United States slapped export bans on certain advanced semiconductor technology. China sees such sanctions as explicitly designed to hurt its critical technology sectors like military modernization and artificial intelligence.
President Biden remains concerned about China's violations of rights in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong . He has objected to Beijing's "coercive and increasingly aggressive" actions in the waters around Taiwan. The US has of late also upped its ties with Taiwan. American key lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have visited the island to show their solidarity with the island nation. American Congress today is said to be considering to draw on the US weapons stockpile to arm the island.
China has long insisted the issues of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong pertain to China's "internal affairs" and warned against any "external interference" in the matter. China views the "Taiwan question" as related to its 'core interests'. To adhere to his Taiwan policy, President Xi has recently appointed new, 'more committed' military leaders in China's Eastern Theater Command that encompasses Taiwan.
Besides, the United States wants China to condemn Russia's war in Ukraine. China is highly unlikely to oblige. It has had a policy of ambiguity on the matter. Beijing signed a partnership agreement with Moscow in February this year. It has called repeatedly for a peaceful, negotiated end to the war in Ukraine.
Also, the United States and China are not on the same page on the issue of North Korea's nuclear plans. President Biden has warned if Beijing is unable to rein in Pyongyang's weapons ambitions, the US would beef up its presence in the region. Beijing is likely to treat it as a threat to its own security.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
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