Biden-Xi Summit: Key Issues on the Table

Anticipating “Tough Talks” between Biden and Xi: Key Issues on the Horizon

As the world watches, a pivotal meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping approaches. Set against the backdrop of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, this encounter promises to delve into topics of significant bilateral, regional, and global concern.

High-Stakes Diplomacy Amidst Regional Tensions

China and Iran: A Strategic Pivot Point

In the upcoming tête-à-tête, President Biden plans to firmly encourage President Xi to leverage China’s developing relationship with Iran to deter the latter from exacerbating regional conflicts. Washington’s message, as revealed to Politico by a senior administration official, is categorical: provocative actions from Tehran will elicit an immediate American response.

The Washington-Beijing-Tehran axis is expected to dominate dialogue as the US heightens vigilance over Hezbollah’s potential to open a second front against Israel, the apprehension fueled by the latest spate of violence in the Middle East.

Cementing Sino-Iranian Relations

The rapport between China and Iran has only solidified over time, with Beijing maintaining its status as Tehran’s premier trading partner for over a decade. Adding to the dynamic is a strategic comprehensive cooperation agreement inked in March 2021 and China’s instrumental role in brokering the Iran-Saudi Arabia normalization deal.

A Broader Agenda Awaits

The meeting between Biden and Xi, earmarked for November 15, is the first face-to-face encounter since the G20 summit in Bali in November 2022. Discussions are anticipated to center on bilateral relations, including military communications and the US’s adherence to a ‘one-China’ policy, thereby setting aside support for Taiwan’s independence.

Furthermore, the Ukrainian conflict, climate change cooperation, and other pressing global challenges will likely feature in their conversations, as per the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s announcement about addressing topics pivotal to world peace and development.

The Escalating Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

With over 11,000 Palestinian fatalities reported in Gaza since October 7, stemming the surge of violence is of paramount importance. Despite mounting global pressure and calls for a ceasefire, President Biden has maintained unwavering support for Israel. Instead of a truce, the US has proposed a “humanitarian pause” to provide relief to the affected civilians.

The US harbors concerns that Iran, a staunch ally of various anti-Israel factions, might step into the fray. Several countries, including Russia, China, and Brazil, have joined Tehran in demanding an immediate cessation of the Gaza conflict. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has signaled readiness to back any political settlement aimed at curtailing Israel’s actions.

The Road to 2024: Seeking ‘Substantial’ Outcomes

With an eye towards the upcoming re-election campaigns, administration officials underscore the importance of high-level diplomacy, especially in the lead-up to what might be ‘a pretty eventful year’ in 2024. There is an expectation within US political circles that the Biden-Xi meeting will yield significant results, in a demonstration of the far-reaching impact such top-tier discussions can have.

In essence, as global conflicts and strategic alliances redefine the geopolitical landscape, the discussions between presidents Biden and Xi are poised to be as influential as they are fraught with complexity—navigating a path fraught with diplomatic challenges and opportunities.

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