Chinese state-run media reported cautious optimism that General Secretary Xi Jinping will gain the upper hand during talks with President Joe Biden this week.
“Chinese experts” told Global Times that Xi may ask for so-called “people-to-people exchanges, raise “the Taiwan question” and push Biden on a range of other issues near and dear to Beijing during their scheduled meeting on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week in San Francisco on Nov. 15. APEC is an intergovernmental economic and trade forum whose mission is “championing free and open trade and investment” for the sake of “sustainable economic growth and prosperity” in the Asia-Pacific, according to its website.
Global Times reported that analysts are “cautiously optimistic on Xi-Biden meeting serving to stabilize bilateral ties ahead of U.S. 2024 elections.”
“Chinese experts told the Global Times that the Taiwan question will be one of the topics of concern for the Chinese side, and that China hopes to enhance communication and coordination, helping the U.S. side to have a more objective view and judgment of U.S.-China relations,” the state-run media outlet reported.
Experts also told Global Times that Xi may call for increased people-to-people exchanges “by increasing more flights and encouraging exchange students.”
The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a U.S. nonprofit, defines “people-to-people diplomacy” as “non-governmental exchanges between citizens of two countries that contribute to stronger relations between the two countries,” and cites the 1971 ping-pong games played between the U.S. and China as an example.
In July 2022, the Director of National Intelligence warned that “PRC influence operations can be deceptive and coercive, with seemingly benign business opportunities or people-to-people exchanges sometimes masking PRC political agendas.”
The State Department recently announced that Biden will meet with Xi “to discuss issues in the U.S.-PRC bilateral relationship, the continued importance of maintaining open lines of communication and a range of regional and global issues.”
“Building on their last meeting in November 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, the Leaders will also discuss how the United States and the PRC can continue to responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests align, particularly on transnational challenges that affect the international community,” the State Department said.
Global Times also emphasized that recent bilateral talks had “resulted in some positive signals, especially a consensus against decoupling,” going on to cite U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s Nov. 8-12 meetings with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.
In September, Biden insisted that the U.S. does not seek to contain China, and stressed that “de-risking is not decoupling,” during a speech at the U.N. General Assembly.
Meanwhile, China is experiencing sluggish economic growth as foreign firms exit the communist nation. Xi recently railed against economic decoupling during the Belt and Road Forum in October, Reuters reported.
“We stand against unilateral sanctions, economic coercion, decoupling and supply chain disruption,” Xi said, according to Reuters.
The Chinese Embassy and the White House did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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