Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met in Manila over the weekend with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, whose visit was meant to show Washington’s high-level support for its Southeast Asian ally. But if security issues were front and center during Harris’ visit, the question of human rights was also on the agenda.
As encouraging as the three-hour meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping was, it is but one stopping point in what promises to be a long and difficult road ahead for bilateral relations between the U.S. and China, especially against the backdrop of competition that characterizes the relationship.
Even a narrow GOP majority in a single congressional chamber could stymie President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. From a foreign policy perspective, however, divided government does not necessarily hold presidents back. Unsurprisingly, the Biden administration portrayed the results of the midterms as a victory for his foreign policy.
Efforts by the Biden administration to accelerate its quiet diplomacy with Venezuela have already produced some breakthroughs. But the greater challenge comes next, as Washington tries to leverage sanctions to incentivize Caracas to allow greater space for the opposition to compete in the 2024 presidential election.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke by telephone Sunday, ahead of a possible meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden. The two sides appear to be trying to lower the temperature on their relationship, which has recently been characterized by escalating tensions.