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Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Joe Biden

Updated 17:57, 16-Nov-2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden held a summit meeting at Filoli Estate in San Francisco, the U.S., on Wednesday local time. The two heads of state had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on strategic and overarching issues critical to the direction of China-U.S. relations and on major issues affecting world peace and development.

President Xi was warmly received by President Biden upon arrival at Filoli Estate.

Xi noted that China and the U.S. are faced with two options in the era of global transformations unseen in a century: one is to enhance solidarity and cooperation and join hands to meet global challenges and promote global security and prosperity; and the other is to cling to the zero-sum mentality, provoke rivalry and confrontation, and drive the world toward turmoil and division.

The two choices point to two different directions that will decide the future of humanity and the planet Earth, and China-U.S. relationship, which is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, should be perceived and envisioned in this broad context, he stressed.

For China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option and it is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, Xi said, adding that conflict and confrontation have unbearable consequences for both sides.

Major-country competition cannot solve the problems facing China and the United States or the world, and the world is big enough to accommodate both countries, and one country's success is an opportunity for the other, said Xi.

Elaborating on the essential features of Chinese modernization and its significance, China's development prospects and its strategic intention, Xi pointed out that China's development is driven by its inherent logic and dynamics, and it is promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through Chinese modernization.

China will not take the old path of colonization and plundering, or the wrong path of seeking hegemony with growing strength. It does not export its ideology and has no plan to surpass or unseat the United States, Xi said. Likewise, the United States should not scheme to suppress and contain China, he added.

Five pillars for China-U.S. relations

Mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation are the lessons learned from 50 years of China-U.S. relations as well as the conflicts between major countries in history, Xi said, stressing China and the United States should put in a lot of efforts to follow them. 

In San Francisco, the two sides should assume a new vision, Xi said, and he proposed to build together five pillars for China-U.S. relations.

First, jointly developing a right perception. China is consistently committed to having a stable, healthy and sustainable relationship with the United States. At the same time, China has interests that must be safeguarded, principles that must be upheld, and red lines that must not be crossed. It is hoped that the two countries could be partners that respect each other and coexist in peace.

Second, jointly managing disagreements effectively. Disagreements should not be a chasm that keeps the two countries apart. Instead, the two sides should look for ways to build bridges to help them walk toward each other. It is important that they appreciate each other's principles and red lines, and refrain from flip-flopping, being provocative and crossing the lines. They should have more communications, more dialogues and more consultations, and calmly handle their differences as well as accidents.

Third, jointly advancing mutually beneficial cooperation. China and the United States have broad common interests in a wide range of areas, including traditional areas such as the economy, trade and agriculture, as well as emerging areas such as climate change and artificial intelligence (AI). Under current circumstances, the common interests of China and the United States have increased, not decreased. It is important to fully utilize the restored and new mechanisms in foreign policy, economy, finance, commerce, agriculture and other fields, and carry out cooperation in such areas as counter-narcotics, judicial and law enforcement affairs, AI, and science and technology.

Fourth, jointly shouldering responsibilities as major countries. The problems facing human society cannot be solved without cooperation between major countries. China and the United States should lead by example, step up coordination and cooperation on international and regional issues, and provide more public goods for the world. The two sides should keep their initiatives open to each other or coordinate and connect them for synergy to the benefit of the world.

Fifth, jointly promoting people-to-people exchanges. The two sides should increase scheduled flights, advance tourism cooperation, expand subnational exchanges, strengthen cooperation in education and disability affairs, reduce negative factors hindering people-to-people exchanges, and encourage and support greater interactions and communication between their peoples, to cement the foundation for the healthy development of China-U.S. relations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with U.S. President Joe Biden at Filoli Estate in San Francisco, the U.S., November 15, 2023. /Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with U.S. President Joe Biden at Filoli Estate in San Francisco, the U.S., November 15, 2023. /Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with U.S. President Joe Biden at Filoli Estate in San Francisco, the U.S., November 15, 2023. /Xinhua

China, U.S. reaffirm Bali consensus

Xi elaborated on China's principled position on the Taiwan question. He pointed out that the Taiwan question remains the most important and most sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations. China takes seriously the positive statements made by the United States in the Bali meeting. The U.S. side should take real actions to honor its commitment of not supporting "Taiwan independence," stop arming Taiwan, and support China's peaceful reunification. China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable, he stressed.

Noting that U.S. actions against China regarding export control, investment screening and unilateral sanctions seriously hurt China's legitimate interests, Xi said that the development of China is innovation-driven and stifling China's technological progress is nothing but a move to contain China's high-quality development and deprive the Chinese people of their right to development.

China's development and growth, driven by its own inherent logic, will not be stopped by external forces, Xi said, stressing it is important that the U.S. side take China's concerns seriously and adopt tangible steps to lift its unilateral sanctions so as to provide an equal, fair and nondiscriminatory environment for Chinese businesses.

Biden said that he and Xi had an important meeting a year ago in Bali. San Francisco is the gateway for Chinese immigrants to the United States, the place where the United States and China signed the UN Charter, and the first to establish a sister city relationship with China. It is fitting that the two presidents have another face-to-face meeting in San Francisco. He said he looked forward to a productive meeting, building on the basis set in Bali.

Biden noted that he has always believed that the U.S.-China relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. Conflict between the two countries is not inevitable. A stable and growing China is good for the United States and the whole world. When the Chinese economy grows, it benefits the United States and the world, he added.

When the United States and China keep their relations stable, prevent conflict, manage differences and cooperate in areas of shared interest, they will be better able to handle the issues facing themselves and common challenges, said Biden.

He reaffirmed the five commitments he made in Bali, i.e., the United States does not seek a new Cold War, does not seek to change China's system, does not seek to revitalize its alliances against China, does not support "Taiwan independence," and has no intention to have a conflict with China. 

Noting that the two economies are mutually dependent, Biden said that the United States is glad to see prosperity in China and it does not seek to contain or suppress China's development or to decouple with China.

The United States adheres to the one-China policy, welcomes dialogue between government agencies at various levels, and is ready to maintain open and candid communication with China to increase understanding, avoid misperceptions and manage differences, he said.

The United States is ready to keep growing economic and trade relations and strengthen cooperation with China in such important areas as fighting climate change, counter-narcotics and AI, and is glad to see more direct flights and more educational, scientific and technological and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, Biden said.

Xi-Biden meeting 'positive, comprehensive and constructive'

The two presidents acknowledged the efforts of their respective teams to discuss the development of principles related to China-U.S. relations since the meeting in Bali. They stressed the importance of all countries treating each other with respect and finding a way to live alongside each other peacefully, and of maintaining open lines of communication, preventing conflict, upholding the UN Charter, cooperating in areas of shared interest, and responsibly managing competitive aspects of the relationship. The leaders welcomed continued discussions in this regard.

They agreed to promote and strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the two countries in various areas including China-U.S. government talks on AI and the establishment of a working group on counter-narcotics cooperation. They agreed to resume on the basis of equality and respect high-level military-to-military communication, the China-U.S. Defense Policy Coordination Talks, and the China-U.S. Military Maritime Consultative Agreement meetings, and to conduct telephone conversations between theater commanders.

They also agreed to commit to working toward a significant further increase in scheduled passenger flights early next year, and expand educational, student, youth, cultural, sports and business exchanges.

The two leaders underscored the importance of working together to accelerate efforts to tackle the climate crisis in this critical decade. They welcomed recent positive discussions between their respective special envoys for climate, including on national actions to reduce emissions in the 2020s and on common approaches toward a successful COP28 and on operationalization of the Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s to accelerate concrete climate actions.

Following the meeting, Biden hosted a luncheon in Xi's honor. The two heads of state exchanged views on the Palestine-Israel conflict and other international and regional issues of mutual concern.

Biden invited Xi for a walk in Filoli Estate, and he escorted President Xi to his limousine to bid farewell.

The meeting was positive, comprehensive and constructive. It has charted the course for improving and developing China-U.S. relations. And San Francisco should be a new starting point for stabilizing China-U.S. relations. They instructed their teams to build on the understandings reached in Bali and to timely follow up on and implement the new vision agreed on at San Francisco. The two heads of state agreed to continue their regular contact.

Cai Qi, director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, attended the events.

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