Biden, Xi agree to curb fentanyl, restart military dialogue in lengthy talks

US President Joe Biden (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) walk together after a meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. (Photo/AFP)

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have wrapped up their tension-easing summit in California around four hours after the talks began, with Biden saying talks had made "real progress."

The leaders went for a walk around the gardens of the Filoli Estate near San Francisco during the meeting on Wednesday. Biden said the talks were going "well" and gave a double thumbs up to reporters, while Xi waved.

"I value the conversation I had today with President Xi because I think it's paramount that we understand each other clearly, leader to leader," Biden said on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday.

"There are critical global challenges that demand our joint leadership. And today, we made real progress."

The White House also said that both leaders held candid and constructive discussions on a range of issues.

"Today in Woodside, California, President Biden held a Summit with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. The two leaders held a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral and global issues and exchanged views on areas of difference," the White House said on X.

China’s Xi said that they must not let differences become a chasm, according to Chinese media. "Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed," Xi told Biden.

Chinese state media reported that Xi agreed with Biden to resume high-level communication between the two militaries.

They reached expected agreements to curb illicit fentanyl production and to reopen military ties, a senior US official said after the meeting ended. Many of the chemicals used to make synthetic fentanyl come from China to cartels that traffic the powerful narcotic into the US, which is facing an overdose crisis.

Warning on Taiwan

Xi, however, warned Biden to stop arming Taiwan.

"The US side should... stop arming Taiwan, and support China's peaceful reunification," Xi told Biden, according to a readout from China's Foreign Ministry.

"China will realise reunification, and this is unstoppable," the Chinese leader said of the future of the island, which Beijing has pledged to re-take one day.

But the two leaders "agreed Wednesday to resume on the basis of equality and respect high-level military-to-military communication," Beijing state media said.

They also agreed at the California summit to set up joint government talks on the use of artificial intelligence, as well as a working group on counternarcotics cooperation, Xinhua news agency said.

The two further committed to work towards stepping up scheduled passenger flights between their countries early next year.

Xi told Biden that China did not seek to "surpass or unseat the United States", and stressed that "the United States should not scheme to suppress and contain China".

"China will not follow the old path of colonisation and plunder, nor will it follow the wrong path of hegemony when a country becomes strong," Xi said, according to Xinhua.

And Xi also warned Washington that Beijing was dissatisfied with sanctions and other measures against its firms. "US actions against China regarding export control, investment screening and unilateral sanctions seriously hurt China's legitimate interests," Xi said.

"Suppressing China's science and technology is curbing China's high-quality development and depriving the Chinese people of their right to development."

'Unbearable consequences'

Their meeting began with Biden sharing a smile and a handshake with Xi on a red carpet after the Chinese president stepped out of a black limousine.

The pair shook hands again for the cameras on the steps of the brick mansion, this time with more sombre expressions on their faces.

The two leaders then headed inside for painstakingly choreographed, closed-door talks in a frescoed ballroom.

"We've known each other for a long time. We haven't always agreed, which is not a surprise to anyone, but our meetings have always been candid and straightforward and useful," Biden told Xi.

"I think it's paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, but [with] no misconceptions or miscommunication."

Xi responded that "conflict and confrontation have unbearable consequences for both sides."

"For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option," he said.

The leaders of the world's largest economies have not met in person since they held talks in Bali in November 2022, and relations nosedived after the United States shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon in February this year.

Since then, Beijing and Washington have been engaged in intense diplomacy to get the two leaders face-to-face and try to smooth over tensions on issues including Taiwan, sanctions and trade.


Source: TRT