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Biden-Xi summit to set tone for U.S.-China relations: Ex-Obama advisor

A summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese language President Xi Jinping could possibly be the one option to discover a path ahead within the strategic competitors between the world’s high two economies, a former White Home official mentioned Thursday. 

Evan Medeiros, who was former President Barack Obama’s high advisor on Asia-Pacific, mentioned solely the highest management in Beijing will help handle essentially the most contentious points on the coronary heart of the U.S.-China competitors.

“There’s actually no different method presently that has as nice an opportunity of working as that, due to the best way the Chinese language system is structured, due to how highly effective Xi Jinping is, due to how centralized decision-making is,” Medeiros, now a professor in Asian research at Georgetown College, advised CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

“I believe the Biden administration is correct to say not that they need to reduce out the middlemen, however they need to use that top-level engagement between Biden and Xi to kind of set the general tone and path of the connection,” he added.

White Home nationwide safety advisor Jake Sullivan and high Chinese language diplomat Yang Jiechi held high-level talks in Zurich, Switzerland on Wednesday. That was their first in-person encounter since a March meeting in Alaska, which kicked off with an unusual public airing of grievances on either side.

Throughout the talks in Zurich, either side reached an “agreement in principle” to hold a virtual meeting between Biden and Xi, sources advised CNBC’s Kayla Tausche on Wednesday.  

Relations between the U.S. and China have remained rocky in the previous few years. Each side have clashed on points starting from commerce and know-how, to human rights and the origins of Covid-19.

If there are some positives that come out of it that’d be nice, however this isn’t a grand thawing of the connection.

Scott Kennedy

Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research

However bilateral tensions should not headed for a “grand thawing” even because the communication between the 2 international locations seemed to be enhancing, mentioned analysts.

Scott Kennedy of Washington D.C.-based suppose tank Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research mentioned the anticipated Biden-Xi digital summit indicators a “restricted thaw” in bilateral relations. However it should assist to stabilize the U.S.-China competitors and keep away from accidents, he mentioned.

“If there are some positives that come out of it that’d be nice, however this isn’t a grand thawing of the connection,” Kennedy, senior advisor and trustee chair in Chinese language enterprise and economics at CSIS, advised CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

Tensions over Taiwan

Points mentioned on the Zurich assembly between Sullivan and Yang embody China’s actions close to Taiwan, according to a White House statement.

And Taiwan will “for certain” come up once more when Biden and Xi maintain their digital assembly, Kennedy mentioned. The assembly is predicted earlier than the top of this 12 months.

Taiwan has reported several instances of Chinese warplanes breaching its air defense zone in current days. The island mentioned 148 Chinese language air pressure planes have crossed the southern and southwestern a part of the zone within the 4 days since Friday — when China marked its Nationwide Day.  

That prompted the U.S. State Division to induce Beijing to “stop its army, diplomatic, and financial stress and coercion towards Taiwan.”

The ruling Chinese language Communist Get together in Beijing claims Taiwan, a democratic self-ruled island, as a runaway province that should sooner or later be reunited with the mainland — by pressure if needed. The occasion has by no means managed Taiwan, however has not too long ago been extra assertive in its territorial declare.

The U.S. has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, however is the island’s most vital worldwide supporter and arms provider. That is angered China, which views the U.S. as interfering in its “domestic” affairs.

Learn extra about China from CNBC Professional

Medeiros, the previous Obama advisor, mentioned Taiwan is a “very, very difficult” challenge for the U.S. and China to iron out.

“Constructing guardrails, setting boundaries start with clear, constant and credible communication from the highest of the U.S. authorities to the highest of the Chinese language authorities so that they perceive how we’re perceiving these large strike packages over Taiwan, how they might illicit a response from the USA,” he mentioned.

“Equally, we have to perceive higher how Beijing is seeing our actions. I believe there is a widespread misperception in Beijing that the U.S. is searching for to maneuver past the ‘one China’ coverage and that is what motivating a few of their extra aggressive actions.”

The “one China” coverage refers back to the idea that there is just one central Chinese language authorities — the one beneath the Chinese language Communist Get together in Beijing.

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