Beijing Signals Optimism for U.S. Ties After Biden-Xi Meeting

The prominent position of the photo on the front page of China’s main official newspaper spoke volumes: In it, the nation’s leader, Xi Jinping, smiled and shook hands with President Biden against a backdrop of Chinese and American flags.

For months, the newspaper, People’s Daily, has featured Mr. Xi’s warnings that China must steel itself militarily and politically for an era of strife, denunciations of American policy and Communist Party officials’ warnings that “hostile forces” — that is, the United States — were eager to sabotage China’s rise.

A day after Mr. Xi and Mr. Biden met for nearly three hours, the upbeat picture of the two men in the paper on Tuesday, as well as guardedly hopeful comments from China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, added to signs that Beijing is wagering that the nations can arrest a downward spiral in relations, even if deep disagreements persist.

“This meeting was both a continuation of exchanges up to now, and augurs a new starting point,” Mr. Wang told reporters after the summit, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry transcript that also appeared in People’s Daily.

“The U.S. and China should show the world that they are able to manage and control their differences,” he said.

But Mr. Wang also offered a reminder that the long standoff over the future of Taiwan remains a source of potential crisis. Mr. Xi, like other Chinese leaders, has insisted that the self-ruled island eventually unify with Beijing.

In the talks with Mr. Xi, Mr. Biden said that Washington would hold to its “one China” policy, which acknowledges Beijing’s claim to the island but does not go as far as accepting that claim, and opposes any steps to unilaterally change the status of Taiwan.

On that and other points of disagreement, including human rights and sanctions, Mr. Wang indicated that the Biden administration needed to do more to reassure China’s leaders.

“Stop trying to contain and beat down China, stop meddling in China’s domestic affairs, and stop hurting China’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *