- GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
Biden-Xi summit and Impact on India
Context: President Joe Biden of the United States and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for three and a half hours on Nov 16th, the first virtual bilateral meeting of the two leaders since Biden assumed office in January, 2021
The US President took the initiative for the summit, in sync with America’s concern that it should try to prevent military engagement with China.
What happened at the meeting?
Statements issued afterward showed clear divergences in the positions taken by the two sides.
- Biden spoke about violations of human rights by China, and Beijing’s trade policy.
- Joe Biden was clear about the need to protect American workers and industries from the China’s unfair trade and economic practices.
- Biden also discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the US to uphold its commitments in the region. He reiterated the importance of freedom of navigation and safe overflight to the region’s prosperity.
- On Taiwan, Biden underscored that the “United States remains committed to the ‘one China’ policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances”, and it strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
- President Xi on his part raised the issue of US support to Taiwan, and of alliances and groupings that created “divisions” in the world. This was a reference to the Quad grouping, which includes India, and the AUKUS deal among Australia, UK and US to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Canberra.
- Chinese President said that China will have to take resolute measures if the Taiwan independence’ separatist forces provoke, compel or even cross the red line.
- “It is playing with fire, and if you play with fire, you will get burned,” the Chinese readout quoted Xi as having warned.
So, was the meeting a forum for two of the world’s most powerful men to vent their anger against each other?
- Although there was no agreement or joint communique, the meeting was an opportunity to keep communication lines open.
- Biden stated that the competition between China and the United States should not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended. Just simple, straightforward competition.
- US stated that there is a need to establish some commonsense guardrails, to be clear and honest where they disagree, and work together where China’s & USA’s interests intersect, especially on vital global issues like climate change.
- President Xi in turn said: “China and the United States should respect each other, coexist in peace, and pursue win-win cooperation.
- The first face-to-face meeting between American and Chinese officials in Alaska in March had witnessed a public exchange of accusations. From that point, the recent meeting did mark an effort at dialling down rhetoric.
How is India looking at the Biden-Xi meeting?
A US-China talks process is something that India watches very closely.
- India and China have been locked in a border standoff for more than a year and half now, India is part of the Quad, and its strategic alignment with the US has been very clear and categorical.
- US administrations under both Presidents Trump and Biden have viewed China as a strategic rival.
Connecting the dots: