Biden and Xi meet ahead of G20 summit

As the G20 summit kicks off in Bali, all eyes are on the face-to-face meeting between US President Joe Biden and China's leader Xi Jinping on Monday. The trade war, spying allegations, human rights abuses, and Taiwan have put a strain on relations between the two countries for some time now. What can the world expect from the meeting?

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La Stampa (IT) /

A new axis

Thanks to the midterm results and the Pacific partners Biden is arriving in Bali strengthened, La Stampa believes:

“The Pacific allies stressed the need for a stable and strong American presence in the region. In particular with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korea's president Yoon Suk-yeol, Biden reaffirmed common positions and strengthened the partnership on two fundamental issues: the first is the stance on the nuclear threat from North Korea. ... The second is 'strengthening security and defence cooperation'. ... The addressee of the message is sitting in Beijing. Washington is building a network of alliances and relationships in the Pacific.”

Politiken (DK) /

Restore a minimum of dialogue

A glimmer of hope is justified, Politiken comments:

“It's clear that the situation is complicated when the fact that the two partners are meeting at all is good news. ... This is the first meeting between the two since Biden took office, and it comes at a time when relations between the two major powers are at or below freezing point. ... The preconditions are good - both world leaders come to Bali strengthened. ... The two presidents should at least resume a certain dialogue and install an updated version of the Cold War-era 'red phone' connecting the White House to Beijing so that they can talk to each other quickly in the event of a crisis.”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Russia as purveyor to the Chinese court?

Radio Kommersant FM analyses Moscow's role:

“The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected Joe Biden's claim that China has recently distanced itself from its big neighbour in the Northeast. Not so. Beijing is interested in cooperation with Moscow and wants to strengthen it in every way in the future. It's hard to disagree with that - why distance yourself from a country that is so rich in natural resources? Especially when they can be obtained at very favourable conditions. The only question is what place the Middle Kingdom's Russian partner will take in the new world order.”

Le Temps (CH) /

A hint of Yalta

This year's summit is reminiscent of Cold War times, Le Temps comments:

“Joe Biden and Xi Jinping will compete for the support of the largest number of countries. China has gained an advantage thanks to its economic dynamism in recent years. Trump's presidency and his isolationist retreat have weakened the US's position. But Beijing's reading of a rising China outpacing a weakening US has many neighbours worried. Washington's withdrawal from Afghanistan has also allowed Joe Biden to return to the field of East Asian alliances. Bali may not be Yalta, but Monday's meeting will be part of a struggle for influence that harks back to the Cold War.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Putin further isolating himself

The Frankfurter Rundschau finds the Kremlin boss's decision logical:

“With Vladimir Putin's refusal to attend the upcoming G20 meeting in Indonesia, the Russian autocrat is avoiding host President Joko Widodo's announcement of a peace initiative for Ukraine. Apparently he is still not willing to make any concessions on this issue. ... All of this goes to show how isolated Putin's regime has become internationally, even though China, India and Turkey support him to some extent. For if the ruler in the Kremlin had seen the slightest advantage to be gained from the meeting in Bali, he would have attended.”