BEIJING — Now, that he has consolidated his power at home the Chinese President Xi Jinping will step out onto the international stage to strengthen relations between the U.S.A. and other countries.
According to a CNBC count, Xi met with more than 25 heads-of-state — including President Joe Biden — between Oct. 31 and Oct. 31, according CNBC’s official readouts from the Chinese Foreign Ministry English-language website.
Xi recently hosted Charles Michel, President of the European Council, in Beijing. This was the result of a visit by Olaf Scholz from Germany in November, the first Western leader to do this since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Xi led a leadership reshuffle at the Chinese Communist Party in October. occupied top positions along with his loyalists, which opened the door for him to win an unprecedented third term. Xi spoke at the party congress and said that the party had “safeguarded China’s dignity” in light of international changes. He also warned of “dangerous weathers” ahead.
Xi had been in China for the whole pandemic, until September when he went on a state trip to Kazakhstan and then to Uzbekistan to attend a regional summit. There, he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Michael Cunningham, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center and a research fellow on Chinese policy, said that Xi is “coming forward more and engaging more” with the international community. The U.S. will have to face this challenge.
Cunningham stated that the U.S. has been able to strengthen overseas alliances because of Xi’s absence on the international stage for most of the past three years.
These meetings are coming after the Russia–Ukraine war, and Covid travel restrictions have caused Beijing and the West to drift apart. The tensions between the U.S. and China were further intensified last summer by Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker ‘s visit to Taiwan which Beijing claims is its territory.
Many of Xi’s bilateral meetings with world leaders, such as the one with Biden last month, were held on the sidelines of Bali’s Group of 20 summit.
Eurasia Group analysts reported that Xi met with leaders from advanced industrial democracies, for the first time since the pandemic started and amid fraught relations between China’s and the West.” In a Nov. 18 report, Eurasia Group analysts stated that Xi had spoken to “leaders of advanced industrial democracys for the very first time since the pandemic began” “Most of Xi’s meetings fueled a positive outlook on stabilizing relations.”
Xi was caught on camera rebuking Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau for alleged leaks to media from an informal conversation they had a day before. They did not meet for an official bilateral meeting.
Biden and Xi had their first meeting in person on Nov. 14, after the U.S. president assumed office in January 2021. This marked a pause in the downward spiral in relations between the two world’s largest economies. The military leaders of the two countries met the following week for the first time since August’s controversial Taiwan visit by Pelosi.
Some in China felt that the high-stakes Xi Biden meeting indicated that U.S. relations were becoming more ambiguous with Beijing’s use of vague terms such as “mutual respect” or “win-win cooperation.”
Shen Yamei, deputy head and associate research fellow at the state-backed think tank China Institute of International Studies’ department for American Studies, stated that “for China, this wording carries some symbolism. That is equality.” We need to treat our relations with equal respect, win-win cooperation and not from a position where the U.S. deals with others as if it were, like the U.S. stated, dealing with them from a position that is stronger than we are. It’s not the same.
Shen stated that the U.S. and China can collaborate more effectively on issues such as climate change and public health, and macroeconomic coordination. She stated that it would be difficult to deal with issues that are more traditional in security, such as the Ukraine crisis and how to resolve it.
She stated that “the important thing is that we [keep] in view the responsibility of a large country to the world through cooperation with one another.”
While calling China a competitor, the Biden administration strengthened U.S. relations with other countries, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.
Based on announcements from the government, heads of Japan, South Korea Australia, Indonesia, and Italy met with Xi and Biden over the past few weeks.
Cunningham stated that the political climate in China was different right now. Xi “is working to get relations back on track so that China has positive conditions.”
He stated that China views it as the right track and positive circumstances. “There are no countries actively opposing China’s rise to global power as the U.S., Western Europe, and some of the East Asian nations see it.” This was the path we were on before 2018 when U.S.-China tensions really heated up.