Bali, Indonesia: The two most powerful men in the world, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, met in Bali, Indonesia, ahead of the G20 summit for long-awaited talks that come as relations between the two countries are at their lowest in decades, marred by disagreements over a host of issues from Taiwan to trade.
The meeting between the two geopolitical heavyweights came on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Indonesia. This is also their first meeting since Joe Biden became the President of the United States.
“It is just great to see you,” Biden said to Xi as he put an arm around him, adding that he was committed to keeping lines of communication open on a personal and government level. Flanked by top delegations, both presidents expressed hope to get the US-China relationship back on track.
During the meeting, Biden stressed the importance of avoiding conflict between the two countries. Biden said that China and the United States can manage differences, prevent competition from turning into conflict, and find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require mutual cooperation.
He also mentioned climate change and food insecurity as problems the world expected their two countries to address.
In response, President Xi said that the relationship between their two countries was not meeting global expectations. He emphasized that the two countries must learn from history. “We have gained experience but also learned lessons. History is the best textbook, so we should take history as a mirror,” Xi said.
Regarding the relationship between China and the US, Xi said that the two leaders need to chart the right course. “We need to find the right direction for the bilateral relationship going forward and elevate the relationship.”
“As the leaders of China and the United States, we must take the helm and steer the bilateral relationship in the right direction,” Xi said. “China-U.S. relations currently face a situation that is not in the interests of the two countries, their peoples or the expectations of the international community.”
What is G20?
The G20, or Group of Twenty, is a club of countries whose leaders get together to discuss plans for the global economy. Increasingly, they also touch on other important topics like climate change.
Between them, G20 countries account for 85% of the world’s economic output and 75% of world trade. They also contain two-thirds of the global population.
The members are the European Union and 19 nations – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the US. Spain is always invited as a guest.
The summit is also an opportunity for national leaders to meet on the sidelines for one-to-one discussions, in the manner US President Biden and President Xi of China met this time.