Handshakes, Smiles And Pacts At Biden-Xi Meet, And "New Cold War" Warning
Xi Jinping and Joe Biden met at Filoli Estate near San Francisco
The two world leaders met at Filoli Estate, best known as the setting of the 1980s soap opera "Dynasty". They were seen strolling through the gardens on the estate, chatting and smiling casually.
The outcomes of the summit were favouable, too, with the US and China agreeing to restore high-level military communications. "That's how accidents happen, misunderstandings, so we're back to direct, open, clear, direct communications," Biden said.
The two sides also reached an agreement to curb to cooperate on tackling the supply of fentanyl, a leading cause of drug overdoses in the US. Under the pact, China will go directly after chemical companies that make fentanyl precursors.
Artificial Intelligence also figured in the talks. A White House readout of the meeting said "the leaders affirmed the need to address the risks of advanced AI systems and improve AI safety through US-China government talks".
"In the months ahead, we're going to continue to preserve and pursue high-level diplomacy with the PRC in both directions, to keep the lines of communication open, including between President Xi and me. He and I agreed that each one of us could pick up the phone, call directly and we'd be heard immediately," Biden said.
At the end of the meeting, there was a long list of memorable quotes. Xi said "planet earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed". Biden said the world expects the US and China to manage "competition responsibly" to prevent it from veering into "conflict, confrontation, or a new Cold War".
There were light moments too. Biden reminded Xi of his wife Peng Liyuan's birthday, adding that it was his birthday too. The embarrassed Chinese president said he had been neck-deep in work and the date had slipped his mind. He thanked Biden for the timely reminder.
It was not all smiles and handshakes though. Biden raised concerns about alleged human rights abuses by China in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. "I gave them names of individuals that we think are being held, and hopefully, we can get them released as well. No agreement on that," Biden said later.
The Taiwan issue came up too. When Biden raised the subject, Xi firmly said the US must stop arming the island and stressed that reunification was "unstoppable". Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan.
Soon after the meeting, Biden went off the script with a remark that will not amuse China. Referring to Xi, he told the media, "He's a dictator in the sense that he's a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that's based on a form of government totally different than ours."