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Biden seeks improved relations with China ahead of summit, cautions against blind investment

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In preparation for a much-anticipated summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco, President Joe Biden emphasized on Tuesday that the United States aims to enhance its relationship with China rather than seek distance.

The leaders, set to meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit in California, face ongoing trade tensions, sanctions, and the contentious issue of Taiwan. Biden expressed the desire to improve communication channels, but cautioned against blind investment in China, citing concerns over Beijing’s business practices.

The upcoming meeting follows a setback in the positive momentum from the November 2022 talks between Xi and Biden in Bali, marred by the United States shooting down an alleged Chinese spy balloon. Biden outlined his goals for the meeting, emphasizing the importance of normalizing communication channels, especially during crises, while acknowledging the need for caution in economic dealings with China.

While both nations signal a willingness to mend ties through high-level diplomacy, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to China in June, the expectations from Beijing for the summit remain vague. China’s foreign ministry highlighted “in-depth communication” and discussions on “major issues concerning world peace,” but emphasized its stance on non-negotiable issues such as Taiwan and military activities in the South China Sea.

Despite persistent challenges, progress has been made in trade, economic relations, and climate change talks between Washington and Beijing. President Biden acknowledged the economic challenges faced by the Chinese people and expressed the belief that a stable job market in China would benefit both nations.

As the summit approaches, President Xi is expected to engage with top US business leaders, aiming to influence a relaxation of US trade restrictions. The discussions between the two leaders will be closely watched, considering the complex backdrop of trade tensions, geopolitical issues, and economic considerations.

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