2023 APEC: Xi, Biden tackle pressing issues


Leaders agree to initiate more contacts on military, AI, climate, air travel, exchanges

President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden agreed to enhance dialogue and cooperation in various fields during a summit on Wednesday, with both sides pledging to initiate intergovernmental talks on artificial intelligence, step up counter-narcotics cooperation and jointly tackle the climate crisis.

These consensuses between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies were reached during their hourslong meeting at Filoli, a historic estate south of San Francisco, California. The summit included several sessions, a working lunch and a brief walk after the lunch.

The two presidents agreed to, on the basis of equality and respect, resume high-level military-to-military communication. This includes the China-US Defense Policy Coordination Talks and the China-US Military Maritime Consultative Agreement meetings, as well as telephone conversations between theater commanders.

They also agreed to commit to working toward a significant increase in scheduled passenger flights early next year, and expand educational, student, youth, cultural, sports and business exchanges.

President Xi Jinping meets with US President Joe Biden at Filoli Estate in the US state of California, Nov 15, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

They welcomed recent positive discussions between special climate envoys from Beijing and Washington. These included plans for national-level actions to reduce emissions in the 2020s, common approaches toward a successful COP28 and operationalization of the Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s.

The two presidents also stressed the importance of both countries treating each other with respect and finding ways to live alongside each other peacefully. They also emphasized maintaining open lines of communication, preventing conflict, upholding the United Nations Charter, cooperating on areas of shared interest and responsibly managing competitive aspects of the relationship.

During Xi’s first visit to the United States in six years, he told Biden that there are two options for China and the US in this era of global transformation that is unseen in a century. The two sides can either enhance solidarity and cooperation and join hands to meet global challenges and promote global security and prosperity, or they can cling to the zero-sum mentality, provoke rivalry and confrontation, and drive the world toward turmoil and division.

President Xi Jinping meets with US President Joe Biden at Filoli Estate in the US state of California, Nov 15, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The two choices point to two different directions that will decide the future of humanity and Planet Earth, he said.

“For two large countries like China and the US, turning their back on each other is not an option,” Xi stressed.

“It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. And conflict and confrontation have unbearable consequences for both sides.”

He went on to say that major-country competition is not the prevailing trend of current times and cannot solve the problems facing China and the United States or the world at large.

“Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed, and one country’s success is an opportunity for the other,” he said.

The president said that China will not take the old path of colonization and plundering, or the wrong path of seeking hegemony with growing strength as it forges ahead with the Chinese path to modernization, adding that it does not export its ideology or engage in ideological confrontation with any country.

He stressed that China does not plan to surpass or unseat the US, and, likewise, the US should not scheme to suppress or contain China.

The two nations are fully capable of rising above their differences and find the right path to get along, as long as both sides respect each other, peacefully coexist and pursue win-win cooperation, he said.

While recalling pledges made by Biden during their meeting in Bali, Indonesia, last year, Xi highlighted the necessity for Beijing and Washington to assume a new vision and build five pillars of China-US relations.

The first pillar, he said, is to jointly develop a right perception of each other. Beijing is consistently committed to having a stable, healthy and sustainable relationship with Washington. Meanwhile, the nation has interests that must be safeguarded, principles that must be upheld and red lines that must not be crossed.

Second, he called upon both nations to manage their differences effectively, saying that they should look for ways to build bridges to meet with each other halfway. Beijing and Washington should appreciate each other’s principles and red lines, and refrain from flip-flopping, provocation and crossing lines, the Chinese president said.

Third, both countries should work together to promote mutually beneficial cooperation, the president said. He underscored the broad common interests between China and the US, including in such traditional areas as the economy, trade and agriculture, as well as in such emerging areas as climate change and AI.

Both sides should make full use of restored and new mechanisms in foreign policy, economics, finance, commerce, agriculture and other fields, and carry out cooperation in such areas as counter-narcotics, judicial affairs, law enforcement, AI, and science and technology, he added.

Fourth, the Chinese president called upon both sides to jointly shoulder responsibilities as major countries, saying that they should lead by example, step up coordination and cooperation on international and regional issues, and provide more public goods for the world.

He also appealed for stronger people-to-people exchanges, which serve as the fifth pillar.

Xi elaborated on China’s principled position on the Taiwan question, calling for the US side to take real action to honor its commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence”, stop arming Taiwan and support peaceful reunification.

China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable, he stressed.

He pointed out that US actions against China regarding export controls, investment screening and unilateral sanctions seriously hurt China’s legitimate interests.

Stifling China’s technological progress is nothing but a move to contain China’s high-quality development and deprive the Chinese people of their right to development, he said.

It is important that the US side take China’s concerns seriously and adopt tangible steps to lift its unilateral sanctions to provide an equal, fair and nondiscriminatory environment for Chinese businesses, he said.

Biden, in his opening remarks at the summit, said his meetings with Xi have always been “candid, straightforward and useful”.

“I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication,” Biden said.

“We also have a responsibility to our people — and the world — to work together when we see it in our interest to do so. And the critical global challenges we face, from climate change to counter-narcotics to artificial intelligence, demand our joint efforts.”

He later tweeted on the social media platform X that the two leaders “made real progress” during the talks.

Sri Lanka China Journalists Forum
Sri Lanka China Journalists Forum
Sri Lanka China Journalists' Forum was established in May 2001 as the Sri Lanka - China Young Journalists' Forum and was in force as a main association that promotes mutual understanding between Sri Lanka and China.


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