The US-China summit, which took place the day before yesterday in the historic Filoli Complex outside the city of San Francisco, resulted in minimal agreements and sent an immediate calm between the two biggest rivals in the world. Its general results will be revealed only in the medium and long term, until the direction that the relations between the two largest economies in the world will take becomes clear. After the crowd dispersed, in the atmosphere of the Filoli Palace, built in the Georgian style and its gardens stretching over hundreds of hectares in the style of the English Renaissance, a truth remained, which is that America and China need each other, and that the rivalry will not stop, and may intensify in the coming days.
The long working meeting that brought together President Joe Biden with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and their senior aides for four hours, which preceded the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, achieved among its direct results the return of military communications at different levels between the two countries, and China’s acceptance of working to stop the flow of chemical and used components. In the manufacture of the drug fentanyl, and a return to bilateral negotiations in the climate field after a one-year break.
It is known that China decided to suspend military communications in response to the visit made by former speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August last year. America attaches exceptional importance to its direct military contacts with China at various levels in order to avoid unforeseen confrontations between the two countries, specifically in the South China Sea. It is building and strengthening its alliances in the East Asian region to contain the growing influence of China, while the latter aims to increase the pressure on America to force it to leave the country. An area that it considers its essential strategic area.
It was clear from the atmosphere of the summit and the writings that were filled by international media that it sought calm and consensus to work in an atmosphere of responsible competition. President Biden was more positive in his comments compared to those he made after the Bali Summit . in Indonesia last year. Commenting on the results of the meeting he had with the Chinese president and his personal impressions, President Biden said that he agreed with his Chinese counterpart to communicate directly by phone if either of them had concerns, considering it an important progress achieved in the meeting , and underlining at the same time that any error in calculations From both sides it can cause real problems.
As described by the Chinese president, who has known him for more than a decade when they were vice presidents, “I think I know the man, and I know how he works, and we have differences, and he has a different point of view than mine point of view on many things, but he is a fair man.” He emphasized that he did not intend to describe him as good, bad or indifferent, but rather just. When asked if he trusted the Chinese president, he responded with the common proverb: “I trust, but I check,” adding in another answer that Xi Jinping is a dictator.
Chinese official media accompanying the summit described the US-China bilateral relations as “the most important bilateral relations in the world today”. The Chinese president emphasized the responsibility of the two countries to work together, despite the challenges surrounding their relationship, stressing that “the relations of the two countries for more than 50 years have not been smooth sailing, but turning our backs on each other will not be. should be a choice, and it is important to respect each other and coexist in peace so that they can rise above each other.” Above all differences, the earth is big enough to accommodate the success of our two countries.” In a meeting with American businessmen, the Chinese president denounced the US view of China as a strategic threat, saying that China can be America’s friend regardless of these descriptions.
In fact, the meeting was, as desired by its organizers on both sides, a return to communication at the top level after the last meeting held between the two presidents on the sidelines of the G20 meetings in the Indonesian city of Bali at this time last year. , and the rapid deterioration of bilateral relations that followed. The two countries are trying, through visits by senior officials, to restore it and prevent it from spiraling into further deterioration. Perhaps the best media description of the summit is that it was linked to the complexity of the internal affairs of the two countries. For his part, the Chinese president wanted to solve the difficult internal economic situation he was facing, while President Biden wanted to show the necessary hospitality while maintaining the language of firmness, so he turned his gaze to the presidential elections next year because of the attack. his administration is not strict enough with Beijing.
In fact, the United States and China constitute two global powers in a state of intense conflict, yet they are now trying, in an unprecedented way, to formulate a protocol to characterize this fierce competition, and open the way to interests and differences. in their expansion in the world, which the Chinese president considered as their commonality, and even drew Borders to the edge of the abyss, beyond which the global balance will be broken. It is an open world for competition between them, considering that this competition is managed responsibly to prevent them from clashing. Therefore, the media of the Chinese Communist Party did not expect the summit to constitute a turning point in bilateral relations, but it will constitute a model for managing tension between the two countries, as they learn to adapt to the climate of strategic competition because it is a normal norm for relations .
That is why the list of controversial issues between the two countries is expanding, and there is no place to count them here, but the Taiwan problem remains in the first place, especially with the unprecedented escalation of China. Although the American position on the policy of “one China”. has not changed, Beijing seems to be starting to carry out a complex process. To remove the United States from the region, while Washington works to build a strong alliance in the Indo-Pacific region to face the growing influence of China. China views the American alliance with Japan, Australia, India, and Vietnam as a threat to its national security, and it claims that America will fail to contain China.
On the other hand, the American position to impose more control on American technological exports to China, which could be used for the development of Chinese military industries, constituted a point of escalation in which China sees an attempt to prevent its development, moreover. to China’s position in support of Russia, which raises the anger of the White House regarding During joint statements attacking the United States, while American policy continues its traditional approach of monitoring human rights violations in China.
In relation to climate, the American side looks forward to China implementing its obligations contained in the Paris Climate Agreement, while protests are growing against the Chinese government changing a law against economic espionage from the point of view of its impact on direct foreign investments, American companies operating. in China, and American and foreign workers there. Statistics indicate that USD 147 billion of foreign direct investment left China last year, while Chinese direct investment in America fell from USD 46 billion in 2016 to USD 5 billion last year.
Limited results for a changing world
Observers believe that the results of the Biden-Xi summit do not deviate from the framework of intentions for calm, and that they are valid only for one year. The American administration is facing many difficulties, including the Israeli war in Gaza, the Ukrainian war. , and preparations for the presidential elections, in which opinion polls indicate the possibility of the return of the president. Former Donald Trump. For his part, the Chinese President faces a weak economy, weak indicators of domestic consumption, a faltering real estate market, declining exports and declining confidence of foreign investors. Therefore, the US and Chinese presidents will work as much as possible to exploit the results of the summit internally to demonstrate their ability to achieve greater success, and to do this, they need each other.
Perhaps I will finish this quick reading of the results of the “Filoli Summit” by presenting the results of the referendum conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations and the prestigious University of Oxford on the side of the summit, which confirmed that the meeting of the two presidents come in an atmosphere of international relations that has become by demand or more selective, or as they called it the referendum on the card. As countries became able to “mix and match” their geopolitical alliances, east and west, and not fully commit to one specific country. Participants in the referendum from 21 European and non-European countries believe that the West is on the way to extinction, with American democracy and the European Union at risk of collapse in the next 20 years.