US-China presidential meetings to restore ties: this is at stake

They are diametrically opposed in almost every major conflict now – including Taiwan, Ukraine and the handling of tech companies. Tomorrow, Biden and Xi will try to reconcile.

Low expectations

Both the Americans and the Chinese expect few concrete solutions or agreements after the conversation. But that does not make the meeting any less important, says China correspondent Roland Smid. “I think the meeting is of high symbolic value, regardless of the outcome. Despite everything, China values ​​a good relationship with the United States.”

Biden indicated at a press conference this week that both he and Xi want to set their boundaries during the meeting. Based on that, they can try to work more together. “Biden and Xi will try to restore a working relationship,” says US correspondent Erik Mouthaan.


There are several reasons why relations between the two countries are now so bad. The hottest topic is Taiwan, which Xi Jinping sees as Chinese territory. The United States supports Taiwan’s independence and has for years spoken out against China’s pressure on the island. Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, which raised eyebrows in Beijing and led to more Chinese military exercises in the sea around Taiwan.

“After Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, all contacts have been shut down. But when something big happens in the world, you want short lines,” says Erik Mouthaan.

Xi’s power ambitions

China has been in economic progress for years, with which it wants to become the largest economy in the world. As part of that plan, the country is gaining more and more influence in Europe and Africa. In China, Xi Jinping, the latter, increasingly tightened his grip on politics. He uses heavy authoritarian means for this.

America has criticized the authoritarian regime in Beijing, as well as China’s growing influence in the rest of the world. “Biden thinks China has too many ambitions for power,” says Mouthaan.

Fighting autocracy

Biden often talks about the struggle between democracy and autocracy. Biden shows he wants to fight autocracy by supporting both Taiwan and Ukraine. “Biden has said that the United States will defend Taiwan if China attacks. The White House later went back on that statement, but he said it. He is sending a signal to China,” says Erik Mouthaan.

Cooperation on climate

So the US and China are against each other on most points, but the two could potentially work together when it comes to climate change. Biden wants to be a leader in climate policy and has the support of the American people after the midterm elections in America. “The voter supports Biden’s climate plans,” says Mouthaan.

China will also take more steps in the climate area, sees Roland Smit. “In the area of ​​climate change, China and the US need each other. I think both countries understand this, the question is whether they are willing to step over other barriers such as trade and human rights.”

If the meeting goes well tomorrow, the countries can slowly build a better relationship. “It will be interesting to see the facial expressions of Biden and Xi afterwards. Whether they laugh, whether they wear masks and how they talk about the conversation,” Mouthaan tips.

Ukraine high on the agenda at the G20 summit

Southeast Asia correspondent Thom Schelstraete is in Bali covering the G20 for RTL Nieuws. According to him, the host country Indonesia was preparing a comprehensive program to stimulate economic cooperation.

“But with all the crises now unfolding, world leaders these days will primarily want to talk about these enormous problems,” says Schelstraete. “The war in Ukraine is high on the agenda, much to the dismay of Russia, which believes that the G20 should only deal with economic issues,” explains Schelstraete.

Whether the G20 and the talks in front of and behind the scenes will yield much remains to be seen. “It would give Indonesia the recognition it so desperately wants as an ever-larger player on the world stage. But for real breakthroughs, it would require countries like the US, China and Russia to be willing to step beyond their own borders. chance of, that they’re really willing to do that seems small at the moment.”

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