“Progress” was the watchword used by President Joe Biden to characterize his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders met for the first time in a year at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
“Today, built on the groundwork we laid over the past several months of high-level diplomacy between our teams, we’ve made some important progress, I believe,” he said.
The first issue of agreement cited by President Biden is to restart cooperation on counternarcotics, particularly regarding the chemicals and equipment used in the production and distribution of the deadly drug fentanyl:
“We’re taking action to significantly reduce the flow of precursor chemicals and pill presses from China to the Western Hemisphere. It’s going to save lives, and I appreciate President Xi’s commitment on this issue. President Xi and I tasked our teams to maintain a policy and law enforcement coordination going forward to make sure it works.”
The second area of agreement, which President Biden called “critically important,” is the resumption of high-level military-to-military contacts.
“We’re back to direct, open, clear direct communications. ... Vital miscalculations on either side can cause real, real trouble with a country like China or any other major country. And so, I think we made real progress there as well,” he said.
Thirdly, the two leaders agreed to have their countries’ experts meet to discuss risk and safety issues associated with artificial intelligence. “These are tangible steps in the right direction,” President Biden said, “to determine what’s useful and what’s not useful, what’s dangerous and what’s acceptable.”
President Biden noted that he and President Xi also exchanged views on a range of global issues, including Russia’s war against Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza.
“And as I aways do, I raised areas where the United States has concerns about the PRC’s actions, including detained and exit-banned U.S. citizens, human rights, and coercive activities in the South China Sea,” he said. “I also stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.”
President Biden said the meeting with President Xi showed the world an important aspect of American diplomacy: “We’re talking to our competitors ... Just being blunt with one another so there’s no misunderstanding is a key element to maintaining global stability and delivering for the American people.”