Joe Biden-Xi Jinping Summit

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    • The first virtual bilateral meeting of the US and China was held.

    About

    • The US took the initiative for the summit, in sync with America’s concern that it should try to prevent military engagement with China.

    Major Highlights

    • Violations of human rights by China: Article 36 of the PRC Constitution provides constitutional protection for citizens’ freedom of religion and the country’s official ethnic policies also reiterate protection of the freedom of religion of ethnic minorities, but in practice the Uyghur population, predominantly living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, are subject to strict controls on the practice of Islam.
    • China’s trade policy: US urged the need to protect American workers and industries from China’s unfair trade and economic practices.
      • US on the other hand, empowered with Congressional support to his more than a trillion dollar infrastructure spending plan appeared in no hurry to end the “tariff war” until China would fulfil its promises to buy $200 billion worth of American goods by the end of the year.
      • The US so far has managed to limit the impact of the “tariff” war with China and has discovered that China is relatively a bigger loser.
    • Issues related to Tibet and Hong Kong raised: United States remains committed to the ‘one China’ policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act and it strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
      • China on his part raised the issue of US support to Taiwan, and of alliances and groupings that created “divisions” in the world.
      • This was a reference to the Quad grouping, which includes India, and the AUKUS deal among Australia, UK and US to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
    • Importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific: US reiterated the importance of freedom of navigation and safe over flight to the region’s prosperity.
      • What is significant is both the leaders agreed that a new Cold War would be harmful for American and Chinese national interests as would be for the Indo-Pacific region and the world at large.
    • Joint communiqué: Although there was no agreement or joint communique, the meeting was an opportunity to keep “communication lines open.
    • Win-win cooperation: Given the domestic economic challenges China has been facing due to:
      • real estate crisis,
      • energy shortages,
      • state-owned companies defaulting on debt payment,
      • foreign investors leaving China,
      • Indo-Pacific countries seeking alternative supply chains,
      • China’s hidden debt of trillions of dollars and the widely visible reduction of growth rate,
      • It is understandable why there was desperation on the part of China to restore normal economic ties between the two countries.
    • China’s traditional image of a congenial economic partner: The psychological impact of the Wuhan virus episode and the Chinese aggressive military moves along the India-China border, South China Sea, East China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, moreover, has had a negative spillover effect on China’s traditional image of a congenial economic partner.

    China and US relations

    • Belt and Road Initiative: China has been posing a robust challenge to the United States in matters of foreign aid, developmental assistance, foreign investments, including through the Belt and Road Initiative is undeniable.
      • The US government does not have the constitutional power or the financial wherewithal to compete with the Chinese BRI.
    • US in global politics: the greatest strength of the US in global politics continues to be its leadership, its alliances, strategic partnerships and the unquestionable capability to fulfil its security commitments.
    • South China Sea: United States would, along with allies and partners, “ensure the rules of the road for the 21st Century” in an apparent response to Chinese activities in the South China Sea.
    • Taiwan as a flashpoint for potential Sino-American armed conflict: China reserves the right to use force to “unify” Taiwan with the Mainland. The United States upholds the commitment to intervene, if force is used to annex Taiwan. By implication, Taiwan remains a flashpoint for potential Sino-American armed conflict.
    • Climate change: Both flagged climate change as one area of cooperation, coming after a recent agreement announced by the two countries at COP26.

    How is India looking at the Biden-Xi meeting?

    • Being watched closely: A US-China talk process is something that India watches very closely.
    • Border standoff: India and China have been locked in a border standoff for more than a year and half now.
    • QUAD: India being part of the Quad, and its strategic alignment with the US has been very clear and categorical.
    • Strategic rival: US administrations under both Presidents Trump and Biden have viewed China as a strategic rival.

    Source: IE