Woodside, California —
Last Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a four-hour meeting near San Francisco, California. The meeting was aimed at improving the relationship between the two countries, which has been getting worse in recent years.
The rising tensions between China and Western countries are partly because of China’s growing power in the world. The US has criticized China’s poor human rights record in places like Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Worries have also grown about China’s increased military activities, especially in the South China Sea.
China believes the US is trying to keep it from growing into a world power. It says the US has no business criticizing the decisions and actions of China’s government.
One subject that the countries strongly disagree about is Taiwan, which China believes belongs to it. China has increased its threatening actions against the island, and many people worry that China might try to take control of it by force. The US has promised to defend Taiwan if it’s attacked.
Last Wednesday’s meeting took place at a large, historic home near San Francisco. The US president and the Chinese leader spent hours talking, and walking around together. It was the first time the two leaders had met in a year.
Mr. Xi worked to present China as a strong world leader, equal to the US. But Mr. Xi was also looking for help from Mr. Biden. Chinese businesses have had major difficulties in the last few years, and currently, the situation for businesses in China is hard.
Mr. Xi was hoping to persuade Mr. Biden to change some of his positions in order to help China. Mr. Biden has worked hard to limit the sale of fast computer chips to China. These chips are needed in the important and rapidly growing area of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Mr. Xi wants Mr. Biden to end these limits.
But Mr. Biden also had requests for Mr. Xi. The US wants China to stop its military attacks near Taiwan, and change the way it treats people in Xinjiang. Mr. Xi did not speak as strongly about Taiwan as he has in the past. But he made it clear that China still plans to bring Taiwan under Chinese control.
Though the countries still have major differences, the two sides did make progress. For one thing, they agreed to take action to cut down on illegal drugs that have been responsible for many deaths. They also agreed that the militaries of the two countries should begin talking directly again. This could help avoid dangerous misunderstandings.
In another important deal, announced the day before the meeting, the two countries agreed to work faster to tackle the climate crisis. The countries say they’ll try to make sure the world has three times as much renewable energy by 2030. China also released a plan to cut its methane pollution.
Perhaps the greatest progress from the meeting is that the two sides are both actively working to make things better. Mr. Xi commented, “Planet Earth is big enough for both countries to succeed.”
Did You Know…?
A high-level meeting between the two countries was scheduled for last February. But that meeting was canceled after a Chinese balloon flew over the US. The US, claiming that the balloon was meant for spying, shot the balloon down.