Joe Biden and Xi Jin Ping Meet in Bali

In preparation for the COP27 convention, President Xi Jin Ping and President Joe Biden met in Bali. This was the first time that two world leaders have sat down in person to meet since Joe Biden was elected as president. Before the meeting began, tensions between the two countries were at an all-time high. Orville Schell, former professor of journalism at UC Berkeley, explained that because Biden had met Xi before, Biden was one of the better-equipped American politicians to diminish tensions between the countries.

One of the biggest points of contention between the United States and China is their respective relationships with Taiwan: an Island China holds claim to. After China’s Nationalist Party lost the Chinese Civil War to its communist party, the nationalist government was forced to retreat to Taiwan. Despite losing the war, the United States remained firm in its support of the Republic of China and immediately recognized Taiwan’s capital as the capital of China. Then in 1979, US President Jimmy Carter established diplomatic relations with China, recognized Bei Jing as China’s capital, and legitimized the Chinese Communist Party. 

 The recent tensions began to rise in August when despite Xi advising her not to,  Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. In response to Pelosi’s visit, China increased its military activities around Taiwan. Then, in response to China’s increased military activity, the US increased its own military pressures by conducting military deals with Australia, as well as building military alliances with both Japan and South Korea.

With military tensions rising in the Pacific, Michael Klare, defense correspondent at the Nation, explains the goal of the meeting should be “for the two leaders to find a way to cool those tensions down and to find ways to reduce the risk of a military clash arising in the Pacific.” 

Both Joe Biden and Xi Jin Ping seemed to agree; Xi opened the meeting by saying, “The world has come to a crossroads. This is not only a question on our minds but in the minds of all countries. The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship. Our meeting has attracted the world’s attention. We need to work with all countries to bring more hope to world peace, greater confidence to global stability, and a stronger impetus to common development.”

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