What did the meeting between Biden and Xi achieve?

The meeting in California between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping has ended with a cautious rapprochement. Xi promised to restrict exports of chemicals used to make fentanyl to the US, and communications between the armed forces of the two countries are to be resumed. However tensions continue over Taiwan.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

A glimmer of hope

Dialogue was resumed in San Francisco, La Repubblica observes with satisfaction:

“The day of the summit began yesterday with encouraging news: the agreement between the two countries to triple energy production from renewable sources by 2030 to tackle the climate problem. ... Not a revolution, not the breakthrough that will halt the already devastating effects of global warming, but at least a sign that conflict is perhaps not inevitable if the two rival superpowers of our time can focus on the common interests of stability. ... Ukraine, the Middle East and Taiwan included.”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Calibrating the degree of hostility

Radio Kommersant FM rules out the possibility of a genuine strengthening of ties between China and the US:

“Globally speaking, it makes no sense for Beijing to help its opponent solve its problems. Especially in a situation where China can take advantage of these problems in the Middle East, Europe and Africa to strengthen its position to the detriment of the United States. There seems to be no other way relations between the two most important geopolitical adversaries can function. They are irrevocably assigned to different camps - and lead these camps. The only question is the degree of hostility. ... Just as it was during the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

China can't afford a conflict with the US

Rzeczpospolita comments:

“The United States is now reaping the fruits of a policy initiated by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger more than half a century ago. Initially, the aim was to break up the alliance between the two communist powers, China and the Soviet Union. Later, with the demise of the USSR, America increasingly opened its market to the Chinese in the hope that they would follow in the footsteps of South Korea or Taiwan. ... Admittedly, China never became a democracy. ... However, its dependence on economic cooperation with the United States is so great that Beijing cannot afford an open confrontation with America, despite pressure from Moscow.”

La Croix (FR) /

Chilly atmosphere likely

The meeting will be like a duel, predicts La Croix:

“Both powers have the feeling that they are engaged in an almost existential contest. Xi Jinping much prefers Vladimir Putin, whom he has met around forty times in the past ten years and whom he has saved from international isolation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moscow and Beijing are allied against the West, whose universalist project they reject. Joe Biden, on the other hand, calls for a union of democracies. The meeting in San Francisco is likely to be rather chilly.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

A hopeful sign

The fact that the big players are seeking dialogue is good news, says Dagens Nyheter:

“The meeting is not aimed at reversing the trend towards a more polarised world. It's more about establishing stability and remaining open to dialogue where possible. Those who care about global efforts to tackle climate emissions should welcome this - without coordinated action from the US and China, a turnaround is virtually impossible. And anyone who cares about peace should welcome it too - direct communication reduces the risk of even the smallest incident in the Taiwan-China Strait escalating into a full-blown war.”

24tv.ua (UA) /

Biden could score points here

Journalist Kostyantin Dovhan analyses on 24.tv.ua how US President Joe Biden could benefit from the meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping:

“Biden and Xi last met in November 2022 at the G20 summit in Bali, but there was no breakthrough back then. Now the situation is slightly different - President Biden is heading towards elections and is catastrophically unpopular right now. He is being fiercely criticised by both Republicans and Democrats. One of the main accusations is indecision. A meeting with the Chinese head of state is a good opportunity to disprove this claim and score a few points in the election campaign.”

The Times (GB) /

Don't forget the carrot

An isolation poilcy won't work against mighty China, warns The Times:

“While making Taiwan less vulnerable, Mr Biden should also restate America's lack of interest in the island becoming a sovereign state. US policy cannot focus only on confronting and isolating China in a repeat of the containment strategy used against the Soviet Union. China is too big an economic power and has an infinitely greater potential to affect the global economy. Mr Biden should stress that conflict is not inevitable and that diplomatic engagement will be rewarded.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Focus on Iran

La Stampa suspects the meeting won't achieve anything:

“Relations between the two countries are visibly deteriorating. Therefore no major announcements are to be expected. The expectations are fuelled mainly by rumours coming from the White House itself, the BBC reports. As regards the Middle East, the word is that 'President Biden's most urgent request to China will be to use its influence to set limits on Iranian involvement in response to the conflict in Gaza'. ... So Iran remains at the centre of the Middle East puzzle. ... But even this stark assessment doesn't seem to shake the diplomatic fronts facing each other [in San Francisco].”

NV (UA) /

Of little consequence for Ukraine

The meeting will have little impact on the course of the war in Ukraine, says political scientist Volodymyr Fessenko in NV:

“The problem is that China perceives the war in Ukraine through the prism of its confrontation with the US. For China, a victory for Ukraine would not be good because it would see it as a US victory. But if the war drags on or escalates, this won't be good for China either. ... For China, everything is good in moderation, including international turmoil. The US, for its part, would not accept peace in Ukraine on China's terms. Any serious concession to China on geopolitical issues would be seen in Beijing as a sign of US weakness.”