Commentary Type

The Biden/Xi Meeting in Bali – What Was at Stake?


The Biden/Xi meeting today should be seen as extraordinarily important for world peace and the world economy. The United States and China are the two largest economies. They are the two countries that spend the most annually on their military capabilities. They often have opposing strategic interests, and they are locked in vigorous strategic competition.

Relations between China and the United States have been steadily deteriorating. After the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August, China severed lines of communication with US officials on a variety of important subjects, including the environment. The US did not lift the Trump era tariffs, as had been rumored just prior to that visit. Last month, it put into place major new restrictions on exports to China of high-end semiconductors and the machinery and technology that make them. The restrictions are designed to impair China's development of AI and other advanced capabilities that could be used for military purposes.

While Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping had spoken by phone or video five times since Biden took office in 2021, the G20 Summit in Bali was the first time the two had met in-person since Biden was Vice-President during the Obama administration.

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