What to expect from the Biden-Xi meeting

As leaders of states, Xi and Biden have met only once before, in the fall of 2022 in Bali (pictured)
As leaders of states, Xi and Biden have met only once before, in the fall of 2022 in Bali (pictured)
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There is already some excitement around this meeting

On November 15 in San Francisco, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit, US President Joe Biden met with President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Xi Jinping.

There was a great deal of anticipation around the meeting. It is the leading international event of November. Many expect that the talks between the leaders of the United States and China could significantly impact the state of international relations, including the situation around the war between Russia and Ukraine. How reasonable are such expectations? What are the political consequences of this meeting?

The problems associated with the war between Russia and Ukraine were discussed at the meeting between the United States and Chinese leaders, but they were not the priority. The main focus was on topics directly related to bilateral relations between the US and China - Taiwan, contradictions in trade, and financial and economic ties. There is also the acute crisis in the Middle East and many other issues.

I don't expect any breakthroughs from this meeting, either in the global dimension or in Ukraine-related issues. The contradictions between the United States and China are too deep; in particular, there are fundamental differences in assessing the causes of the war between Russia and Ukraine and the conditions for ending it. It is impossible to overcome these contradictions in one meeting. At best, the two countries will begin a negotiated working dialogue, primarily on topics related to their bilateral relations.

There are no grounds for either hope or fear

Biden will undoubtedly tell Xi that China should not provide military support to Russia and that China should not help Russia circumvent Western sanctions. To which the Chinese leader will surely reply that China is in favor of peace in Ukraine and does not sell weapons to Russia. As for trade with Russia, the Chinese leader will emphasize that this is China's sovereign right and that Russia is an essential partner for China. At the same time, President Xi will condemn US sanctions against Chinese companies that help Russia circumvent the Western sanctions regime and will generally condemn the sanctions regime. Simply put, everything will remain as it is now. China will not sell weapons and ammunition to Russia (at least not officially and directly) and will advocate for peace in Ukraine in the format of a simple cessation of hostilities. Naturally, China will not give up active trade with Russia. The Americans will be satisfied, at least with the fact that China does not support Russia's war against Ukraine and refrains from direct military assistance to Russia.

We should not have any illusions about the meeting between Biden and Xi to develop into much. There are no grounds for either hope or fear. This meeting will not lead to an end to Russia's war against Ukraine, and it will not bring us a just peace. The fact is that China perceives the war in Ukraine through the prism of its confrontation with the United States. China does not benefit from Ukraine's victory because Beijing will perceive it as a victory for the United States. However, China does not benefit from the excessive prolongation of the war and its escalation.

This war has already created problems for international trade, and the war in the Middle East may exacerbate these problems. For China, everything is good in moderation, including global turbulence. For its part, the United States will not make peace in Ukraine on China's terms. Any serious concession to China on geopolitical issues will be seen in Beijing as a manifestation of US weakness. And Washington is well aware of this. Biden will not block China's peace initiatives, but will carefully monitor them. In any case, the question of the conditions for ending the war between Russia and Ukraine cannot be resolved without the participation of the warring parties themselves.

For us, the very fact of this meeting and the continuation of the constructive negotiation process between the United States and China is positive. Against our interests is a direct military and political confrontation between the United States and China, which would be beneficial to Russia and other ardent opponents of the United States (the DPRK and Iran).

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine