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18 Nov

Biden-Xi Summit

Biden-Xi Summit

Recently, President Joe Biden of the United States and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for the first virtual bilateral meeting. The meeting ended with the clear divergences in the positions taken by the two sides.

  • US-China confrontation is on multiple fronts including ideological and cultural hegemonic rivalry, trade wars which has often been called the New Cold War.

Key Points

  • US’ Reservations Against China:
    • Human Rights Violations: US raised concerns about the human rights violation practices in Xinjiang (Uighur Muslims), Tibet, and Hong Kong.
    • Trade War: US’ trade deficit with China was around USD 375 billion for 2017. Due to this, former US President Donald Trump imposed import duties on Chinese exports to the US.
      • The US president held that the need is to protect American workers and industries from China’s unfair trade and economic practices.
      • The US Treasury Department has declared China as a currency manipulator.
    • Free and Open Indo-Pacific: China’s assertiveness in South China Sea, claiming the majority of sea as its territory, has prompted the US to reiterate the importance of freedom of navigation and safe overflight to the region’s prosperity.
    • Taiwan: China and Taiwan separated amid civil war in 1949 and China considers Taiwan part of its territory to be taken control of by force if necessary. However, Taiwan’s leaders say that Taiwan is a sovereign state.
      • The US remains committed to the ‘One China’ policy. However, it “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
  • China’s Reservations Against US:
    • Alliances and Groupings: China has raised reservations regarding the alliances and groupings led by the US. China held that these groupings created “divisions” in the world.
      • This was a reference to the Quad grouping, which includes US, India, Australia and Japan and the AUKUS deal among Australia, UK and US to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
      • Moreover, the US has recently proposed to expand G7 to G-11 without including China in it.
    • Competition for Dominating World Finances: To counter the US-dominated International Monetary FundWorld Bank and World Trade Organization, China has come out with alternative financial institutions like Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, and New Development Bank.
  • US-India-China Relations:
    • US Helping India address disputes with China: US aims to support India via military, diplomatic and intelligence channels to help address continental challenges such as the border dispute with China.
    • US Supports India’s reservations against Belt Road Initiative: US seeks the transparent infrastructure-debt practices in the countries facing debt due to Chinese financing under Belt Road Initiative.
      • Build Back Better World (B3W) is an international infrastructure investment initiative announced by the Group of Seven (G-7) richest democracies in June 2021.
      • The B3W initiative is being seen as the US’ initiative to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
    • Balancing China: The US is in favour of strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, which would act as a counterbalance to China in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
      • Due to this, India and the US have signed four fundamental defence agreements:
        • The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA-2002).
        • The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA-2016).
        • The Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA-2018).
        • The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA-2020)

Way Forward

  • US-China’s Responsibility: It is the responsibility of leaders of China and the US to ensure that the competition between the countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended.
  • India to Maintain Interest Oriented Balancing: India should realise its rising global power and rather than getting enmeshed in US-China rivalry, it should prioritize its own interests and growth by maintaining peaceful mutual relationships.

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