Biden’s willingness to add Iran to an already packed meeting agenda with Xi underscores the administration’s concern that Iran’s Lebanon-based militant ally Hezbollah would possibly reply to Hamas’s requires the group to open a second “resistance” front towards Israel. China and Iran have a strategic partnership fueled by mutual antipathy towards the U.S. that Beijing underwrites with oil purchases and funding.
China’s ties to Iran will probably be a part of the “tough conversations” between Biden and Xi that can contact on all key problems with the U.S.-China relations, a second senior administration official stated. They’ll embody discussions on local weather cooperation, China’s function in the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic and Beijing’s alignment with Russia’s battle on Ukraine.
The two leaders can even trade speaking factors on perennial hot-button points together with human rights in addition to rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea. One fraught situation that’s not on the agenda in any element: discussions about the way forward for the Trump-era 301 tariffs on Chinese imports that Biden has refused to withdraw.
Beijing, for its half, received’t give particulars on Xi’s meeting agenda. The two leaders will focus on the “strategic, overarching and fundamental importance in shaping China-U.S. relations and major issues concerning world peace and development,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.
The meeting would be the first direct contact between the 2 leaders since their encounter in November 2022 on the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, that produced joint resolutions to cool tensions. But relations turned frosty once more after the Chinese spy balloon incident in February and Beijing has resisted administration efforts to reconnect the 2 leaders. The meeting comes after months of intensive diplomatic outreach by the Biden administration that started in June, together with journeys to Beijing by three senior cupboard officers and local weather envoy John Kerry.
The two sides have engaged in a flurry of diplomatic exercise to pave the way in which for a meeting. In simply the previous week, administration officers and their counterparts have met in all places from San Francisco to Washington to focus on issues including climate cooperation, rights of people with disabilities, nuclear nonproliferation, maritime issues and economic ties. “After investing at home and strengthening ties with allies and partners abroad, this is precisely the time for high level diplomacy,” the primary senior administration official stated.
Biden goes into the meeting conscious it’s his final likelihood to press Xi one-on-one for a reset in rancorous bilateral ties earlier than he’s sucked into full-time reelection marketing campaign mode. That marketing campaign — in addition to Beijing’s issues in regards to the probably victory of pro-independence candidate Lai Ching-te in Taiwan’s presidential election in January — may make 2024 “quite a bumpy year,” the second senior administration official stated.
The meeting will produce “substantial” outcomes that will embody the resumption of high-level military-to-military ties, the primary administration official stated. Beijing suspended these hyperlinks as a reprisal for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit in 2022 and has persistently rebuffed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s requests to meet his Chinese counterpart.
“The President is going to press [Xi to restart military contacts] next week and we hope to have more to report on Wednesday,” the official stated.
The sudden uptick in Beijing’s willingness to interact with the U.S. coincides with a chronic downturn in the Chinese economy that’s included a retreat in foreign direct investment. That’s sown skepticism amongst administration officers in regards to the motives behind Beijing’s sudden curiosity in re-engaging with the U.S.
“The question really on the table — is China seeking [these] steps for tactical or short-term measures or are they seeking to truly improve relations with the United States?” the primary senior official stated.