We’re back to direct, open clear direct communication on a direct basis,” Biden said after his First Meeting with Xi Jinping in A Year

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  • US President Joe Biden said talks with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had yielded progress in repairing strained ties in the bilateral relationship. 
  • Biden highlighted the restoration of direct military-to-military contacts between the US and China. 
  • “We’ve made some important progress, I believe.”- said Biden. 
  • China described the talks as a “candid and in-depth exchange of views” and said “One country’s success is an opportunity for the other,” 
  • The Chinese warned the Taiwan question was among the most “sensitive issues in the relationship.” 
  • On artificial intelligence, the two sides agreed to dialogue to keep the emerging technology from being deployed in ways that could destabilize global security. 

US President Joe Biden said talks with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had yielded progress in repairing strained ties in the bilateral relationship, hailing agreements to restore high-level military communications, combat fentanyl, and open a dialogue over artificial intelligence.

“I believe they were some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had,” Biden said at a press conference Wednesday, following a summit aimed at steadying a bilateral relationship under intense strains. “We’ve made some important progress, I believe.”

China described the talks as a “candid and in-depth exchange of views” and said “one country’s success is an opportunity for the other,” according to a statement released by the nation’s Foreign Ministry. The Chinese added it was “unrealistic for one side to remodel the other,” and warned the Taiwan question was among the most “sensitive issues in the relationship.”

“China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable,” the ministry added.

Biden highlighted the restoration of direct military-to-military contacts, saying they would prevent miscalculations between the two countries, and also indicated he had the ability to speak to Xi directly.

“That’s how accidents happen, misunderstandings, so we’re back to direct, open, clear, direct communications,” Biden said.

The leaders of the world’s two largest economies had not spoken for a year. Both sides celebrated the meeting, which lasted over four hours, as productive, and a step toward normalizing a relationship battered by a series of diplomatic and economic clashes. The agreements though largely roll back steps China took following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan – made over the objection of Beijing.

As he ended the press conference, though, Biden referred to Xi as a “dictator,” repeating remarks that sparked criticism from China earlier this year.

Biden’s off-the-cuff remark followed a day of carefully choreographed meetings that saw the two leaders meet on the sweeping grounds of the Filoli estate in the town of Woodside, about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Biden said he reiterated the US’s One China policy, and “that I’m not going to change that.”

US officials also pressed Chinese counterparts to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas with Iran, which financially supports the militant group categorized as a terrorist organization by the US and EU.

The deal from China on combating fentanyl was characterized by senior US officials as the most important agreement from the summit. The officials said Biden told Xi that fentanyl posed one of the worst drug problems the US had faced. The officials said they would watch closely to see if China follows through on the pledge.

The move to recharge senior military-to-military communications was also high on the agenda following a series of close encounters between Chinese and American ships and planes in recent months.

China agreed to policy-level discussions with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, as well as operational engagements at senior military levels, according to US officials. That restores communications channels China halted last year to protest Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. China said the two countries had agreed to manage disagreements more effectively and have more dialogues and consultations to avoid misunderstandings.

On artificial intelligence, the two sides agreed to a dialogue to keep the emerging technology from being deployed in ways that could destabilize global security, according to US officials. The meeting also saw an agreement to work to increase flights between the two countries next year, according to Xinhua news agency.

Ahead of the summit, the US and China also released a statement detailing new commitments to cooperate on climate change, with promises to build carbon-capture facilities, curtail power sector pollution, and take aim at the full suite of greenhouse gases helping warm the planet.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

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