The meeting of the presidents of the United States and China must restore relations: this is at stake

They are diametrically opposed in almost all of the major conflicts now — including Taiwan, Ukraine, and dealings with tech companies. Tomorrow, Biden and Xi will try to reconcile.

low expectations

Both Americans and Chinese expect few concrete solutions or agreements after the conversation. But that doesn’t make the meeting any less important, says Chinese reporter Roland Smead. “I think the meeting has a high symbolic value, regardless of the outcome. Despite everything, China attaches importance to a good relationship with the United States.”

Biden indicated at a press conference this week that he and Xi would like to define their boundaries during the meeting. Based on this, they can try to work together more. “Biden and Xi will try to restore the working relationship,” says US reporter Eric Motan.


There are many reasons why the relationship between the two countries is so bad now. The most exciting topic is Taiwan, which Xi Jinping sees as Chinese territory. The United States supports Taiwan independence and has for years spoken out against Chinese pressure on the island. Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, which raised eyebrows in Beijing and led to more Chinese military exercises at sea around Taiwan.

“After Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, all communications were shut down. But when something big happens in the world, you want short lines,” Eric Motan says.

Xi’s ambitions for power

China has been in an economic boom for years, as it wants to become the largest economy in the world. As part of this plan, the country is gaining more and more influence in Europe and Africa. Within China, Xi Jinping has increasingly tightened his grip on politics. He uses heavy authoritarian means for this.

America criticized the authoritarian regime in Beijing, as well as China’s growing influence in the rest of the world. “Biden believes that China has a lot of ambitions in power,” says Mathan.

fight tyranny

Biden often talks about the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. Biden shows that he wants to fight authoritarianism by supporting both Taiwan and Ukraine. “Biden said the United States would defend Taiwan if it attacked China,” says Eric Motan. “The White House later came back to that statement, but said it. It’s sending a signal to China.”

Climate cooperation

So the US and China are at odds on most points, but the two will likely work together when it comes to climate change. Biden wants to be a leader on climate policy, and has the support of the American people after America’s midterm elections. “The voter supports Biden’s climate plans,” says Mathan.

China also wants to take more steps on climate, sees Roland Smit. “In the area of ​​climate change, China and the United States need each other. I think both countries understand that, and the question is whether they are willing to overcome other barriers such as trade and human rights.”

If the meeting goes well tomorrow, countries can slowly build a better relationship. “It would be interesting to look at the facial expressions of Biden and Xi afterwards. Whether they laughed, whether they wore masks and how they had the conversation,” Mathan advises.

Ukraine is at the top of the agenda of the G20 summit

Southeast Asia reporter Tom Shellstreet is in Bali and is affiliated with the G-20 for RTL Nieuws. He said the host country, Indonesia, is preparing a comprehensive program to stimulate economic cooperation.

“But with all the crises that are happening now, world leaders these days are basically going to want to talk about these massive problems,” Shelstright says. “The war in Ukraine is high on the agenda, much to the chagrin of Russia, which believes that the G-20 should deal only with economic issues,” Shelstreet explains.

It remains to be seen whether the G-20 and the behind-the-scenes talks will yield much. “It would give Indonesia the recognition it so desperately wants as an increasingly large player on the world stage. But to make real breakthroughs, it would need countries like the United States, China and Russia willing to push their borders. Really willing to do that seems small at the moment.”

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