Biden and Xi’s high stakes meeting – 3 tasks the president must deliver on in Bali
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America is engaged in a monumental struggle global struggle with China. The White House is already downplaying the expectations for the sideline meeting between President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping. But this struggle is in a pivotal phase.
The Bali meeting between Biden and Xi on the sidelines of the G20 will be short. Biden will be the one talking most. Previous Zoom calls lasted as long as three hours and Biden went into lecture mode.
It’s a G20 meeting, so get ready for gooey talk about energy transitions and global economic recovery. The White House warns that you shouldn’t expect major trade concessions or diplomatic ‘deliverables’. They know Xi isn’t there to negotiate. China’s current activities of gaining access to American universities, cyber theft of technology and taking over the United Nations are all well under way. China’s motivation to talk is therefore minimal.
Xi Jinping would like to visit Bali, Indonesia to take a victory lap after he consolidated his complete political control over China. The G20 and guests are his best customers, after all.
However, the G20 (minus Russia) is also pretty much the core of the international system. These are the countries China is trying to dominate as Xi tries push the U.S. from the top of the international order. America’s closest allies and friends are also present.
FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 4, 2013.
(REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool//File Photo)
In Indonesia, the big task for Biden is to remind the G20 nations that despite Xi Jinping’s ruthless ambitions, the U.S. is still the sole superpower in the world today. Biden should specifically take Xi to task over his support for Russia’s war on Ukraine, the massive nuclear buildup, and the threats against Taiwan.
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To start, Biden can and should rally the many supporters of Ukraine and call out Xi Jinping’s for backing Russia’s war. He will never admit it but watching the success of Ukraine against Russia has startled Xi.
China has a military with impressive equipment, but little combat experience. The Ukraine is crushing Russia’s large military with American weapons and tactics.
China lost by backing Putin. Xi must be questioning all the Russian weapons in China’s arsenal and what bad tactics Chinese troops have learned from joint drills. The reflected glow of Ukraine’s success is a boon for Biden.
And he’ll need it for the second task: delivering a message on nuclear deterrence. Xi has China on course to build hundreds of new nuclear weapons. China is racing to surpass the U.S. arsenal with new missile fields, orbiting nuclear weapons, and more road-mobile missiles carrying multiple warheads.
China refuses to discuss arms control and appears to view the nuclear triad as a tool of coercion, not stability.
FILE – Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a commendation ceremony at the Great Hall of the People for role models of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Paralympics and Paralympics on April 8, in Beijing.
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In the decade ahead, the U.S. will be hard–pressed to buy enough new B-21 bombers, nuclear missiles and Columbia-class submarines to deter China. Biden needs to drop the Obama-era no nukes verbiage and tell Xi the U.S. will deter China’s nuclear ambitions.
Finally, Biden must stand up for Taiwan. Biden stated Nov. 9 that he was going to have that conversation. We’ll see. Vague red lines will not help. Biden must make clear to Xi that America will arm and protect Taiwan.
Biden has sent out sharp messages suggesting that the United States will defend Taiwan in case of an invasion by China. While the White House is careful to not contradict the law, the law allows Biden broad latitude to order military action by the U.S.
The White House can’t let State Department eagerness to restore dialogue derail deterrence. Every strong word spoken by Biden is powerful. China is already furious because the White House plans debriefing Taiwan about the Biden-Xi results. That is something I like.
As the Taiwan policy shows, Biden can actually receive a lot from the rising generation Senate and House Republicans, who rightly view China as a threat unlike any other. “I’m very, extremely concerned. China is watching this weak commander-in-chief Joe Biden,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said Oct. 4.
House Republicans like Stefanik will investigate medical research dollars to China, bump up defense investment in Taiwan, and keep restoring U.S. military strength. To confront China, it will take both sides.
Xi Jinping wants to dominate the world, but Biden as well as the likely new GOP House have the opportunity to limit how far Xi can go.
Rebecca Grant is president of IRIS Independent Research.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.