In his second phone conversation since arriving at the White House in January, Biden He called the Chinese president this Thursday night, Xi Jinping, to redirect the bad relations between both countries. After several years of disagreements over the “trade war” opened by Trump, the coronavirus pandemic has only widened their political differences. With growing tension in the South China Sea, Taiwan and, now, Afghanistan, in the background is the rivalry between the world’s two greatest powers, one emerging and one declining, in a sort of “New Cold War.”
In the midst of an increasingly rarefied climate, the two leaders have spoken by phone for an hour and a half to ensure that this “competition” does not lead to a “conflict», According to the agency France Presse, citing the version of the White House. For its part, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that Biden and Xi maintained “a broad, sincere and deep communication” and “exchanges on bilateral relations and relevant issues of common interest.”
During the call, the president of the United States hoped that “the dynamics remain competitive and we do not have any situation in the future that leads us to an unintended conflict.” As White House officials explained to AFP, Biden spoke with Xi to “drive responsibly»This competition and that Washington’s actions are not misinterpreted by Beijing. According to Chinese state media, Xi complained that the White House policy on China had caused “serious difficulties” in the bilateral relationship and insisted that recovering those ties “is crucial for the future and the destiny of the world.” .
With this direct intervention, Biden becomes personally involved in relations with China after two diplomatic attempts that ended in notorious failures. The first was the row that the Secretary of State staged in March in Alaska Antony Blink and the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, with the head of Chinese diplomacy and member of the Politburo, Yang Jiechi, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi. Before reporters, the five minutes of formal greetings turned into a dialectical duel as the Americans brought up the thorny issues of Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan. Immediately, the Chinese responded with the ferocity that is characterizing the “warrior wolves” of their previously quiet diplomacy, which was celebrated with euphoria on social media by the most nationalistic circles. Also tense, or at least unsuccessful, was the July visit to Tianjin by Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
For its part, the recent trip of the US envoy for climate change, John Kerry, seems to have unblocked the relationship with China somewhat, which links its collaboration in this field with the improvement in other bilateral matters.
Pulling back on his personal relationship with Xi Jinping, whom he dealt with frequently when he was vice president with Obama, Biden has not hesitated to call him to improve their relations. As he recalled in an interview with CBS television in February, “I have had 24 or 25 hours of private meetings with him since he was vice president and I’ve traveled 17,000 miles with him. I know him quite well.
On the table are, in addition to their ideological and commercial differences, dangerous issues for world stability such as the land claims in the South China Sea and the claim of Taiwan, the repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and, now, the new scenario that is being drawn in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal and the arrival of Beijing.