San Francisco, Nov 16 (PTI) US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met at a picturesque mansion in northern California in a bid to establish a working relationship following a period of strained ties, particularly post the Covid pandemic and the Ukrainian war.
Seated across a long table along with their respective delegations, the two leaders, facing each other, underscored that it was in the interest of the two countries to avoid confrontation and instead focus on cooperation.
“We have to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict and we also have to manage it responsibly. That's what the United States wants and what we intend to do. I also believe it's a world wants for both of us candid exchange,” Biden said in his welcome remarks at the start of the bilateral meeting.
“We also have a responsibility to our people and the world to work together when we see it in our interest to do so. The critical global challenges we face from climate change to narcotics, and artificial intelligence demand our joint efforts,” he said.
The Chinese president, in his remarks, said, “It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. Conflicts and confrontations have unbearable consequences for both sides. I'm still of the view that major country competition is not the prevailing trend of current times and cannot solve the problems facing China and the United States.” The meeting was held at the picturesque Filoli Estate -- a country house set in 16 acres of formal gardens surrounded by a 654-acre estate. Located in Woodside, California, about 40 km south of San Francisco, it has hosted several high-profile weddings and is a preferred location for the film industry.
Xi, who is attending the APEC Leadership Summit in San Francisco at the invitation of Biden, said Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed, and one country's success is an opportunity for the other.
It is an objective fact that China and the United States are different in history, culture, social system, and development path. However, as long as they respect each other, coexistent peace and pursue winning cooperation, they will be fully capable of rising above differences and finding the right way for the two major countries to get along with each other, Xi said.
The mood in the meeting room looked cordial, but it did not appear to be friendly as has been in the case of several bilateral meetings that Biden has hosted this year for other Heads of State like Prime Minister Narendra Modi from India or those from Australia, United Kingdom, South Korea, and Japan.
Xi noted that a lot has happened since they last met in Bali, Indonesia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in November 2022. Since then, the world has emerged from the Covid pandemic but is still under its tremendous impact. The global economy is recovering, but its momentum remains sluggish. Industrial and supply chains are still under the threat of interruption and protectionism is rising. All these are grave problems, he said.
The China-US relationship, which is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, should be perceived and envisioned in a broad context of the accelerating global transformations seen in a century. “It should develop in a way that benefits two peoples and fulfils our responsibility for human progress,” Xi said.
Welcoming Xi to the US, Biden said since their last meeting in Bali, on the sidelines of the G 20, the key members of the two governments have had important discussions on issues matters to both the nations and to the world.
“But as always, there's no substitute for face-to-face discussions. I've always found our discussions straightforward and frank, and I've always appreciated them,” Biden said. Observing that he has known Xi for a long time, Biden said they haven't always agreed, which was not surprising to anyone.
“But our meetings have always been candid, straightforward, and useful. I've never doubted what you've told me in terms of your candid nature in what you speak. I value our conversation because I think it's paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader with no misconceptions or miscommunication,” said the US president. PTI LKJ RHL