Biden’s Meeting With Xi Set a Very Low Bar for U.S.-China Relations

Biden’s Meeting With Xi Set a Very Low Bar for U.S.-China Relations
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President President Xi Jinping, in Woodside, Calif., Nov. 15, 2023 (pool photo by Doug Mills for the New York Times via AP images).

They came. They met. And that was it.

We are now a couple weeks removed from the meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit. Their face-to-face chat lasted four hours. What came out of it?

Biden claimed to have had “some of the most constructive and productive discussions” he’s had with his Chinese counterpart. There were indeed some concrete outcomes. China agreed to restrict trade in products that can produce fentanyl, and the two sides reestablished military-to-military communication, which Beijing had suspended after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022. The former is critical, at a time when fentanyl is a major contributor to the “crisis” at the U.S. border. The latter, which U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken tried and failed to achieve back in June, is essential at a time when the flurry of crises unfolding around the world could create a recipe for military miscalculation.

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