Biden-Xi Talks Modified Tone But Not Substance of US-China Relationship
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - President Joe Biden's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco improved the frosty atmosphere between the two Pacific superpowers but did nothing to resolve any of the sources of tension between them, former senior State Department official Chas Freeman told Sputnik.
Biden and Xi held extensive bilateral talks on the margins of the APEC Summit on Wednesday on a wide range of diplomatic and security matters. The two leaders agreed to improve communications and resume direct military-to-military contacts.
Hours after the pair met, Biden, despite saying that progress was made during earlier conversations, referred to Xi as a "dictator
" after the summit.
"It modulated the tone but not the substance of bilateral relations," Freeman, who served as President Richard Nixon's personal translator during his first state visit to China in 1972, said. "Like acupuncture treatment of pain, the meeting sought to address its symptoms rather than the causes."
Freeman said there was "no meeting of the minds" on matters of war and peace in Eastern Europe or West Asia.
"For the time being, Mr. Biden has avoided adding yet another war to those he has already fomented or made the United States co-belligerent in," Freeman said.
The talks, Freeman added, reopened the possibility of cooperation or at least coordinated policies on global issues like climate change, nuclear proliferation, and artificial intelligence, but it remains unclear what this will mean in practice.
The former senior State Department diplomat said Xi's speech to a gathering of American business "moguls," was a model of its kind.
"Mr. Xi reinforced Chinese ties to existing constituencies in the United States while seeking to relieve the anxieties of China's entrepreneurial class and private sector about the direction of his trade and investment policies," Freeman said.
The anticipated Biden-Xi meeting on Wednesday proved to be the Chinese president's first US trip in some six years after having previously traveled to former US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in 2017.
Biden had last met face-to-face with Xi in 2022 in Indonesia.