The Presidents of China, Xi Jinping, and of the United States, Joseph Biden, are to hold a virtual Summit this coming Monday to discuss bilateral issues, particularly the case of Taiwan, an independent country still considered a rogue province by the Asian giant.
Xi has pledged to reincorporate Taiwan into Chinese territory, while Biden has announced the US would defend the island. Ongoing issues in Hong Kong are also to be on the agenda, it was reported.
In this volatile scenario, the Chinese President Thursday warned against fostering a Cold War in the Asia-Pacific region, which must not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.
As tension mounted over the past few months, the US has set up a strategic alliance in the region with Australia and the UK involving nuclear submarines. Earlier this year, Biden said the US and China competed to win the 21st century while launching every diplomatic attack possible on Beijing from trade to human-rights abuses. Taiwan is one of those issues.
Biden recently said the US would defend Taiwan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday insisted his country and its allies would take action if Beijing attacked Taiwan.
Nevertheless, the US and China have announced a joint pledge Wednesday to work together to thwart the climate crisis over this decade, amid growing fears that the two countries will develop hypersonic weapons capable of evading all known defences and carrying nuclear warheads.
Monday's will be Biden's first meeting with Xi since taking office in January. Both leaders have sent letters to the National Committee on US-China Relations this week in commemoration of its 55th anniversary, which signalled their openness to hold a dialogue despite tensions.
China's ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, read Xi's letter at a dinner for the occasion on Tuesday, saying: Xi stressed that following the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, China stands ready to work with the US to enhance exchanges and cooperation across the board, jointly address regional and international issues as well as global challenges, and, in the meantime, properly manage differences, to bring China-US relations back to the right track of sound and steady development.
Biden and Xi are also expected to address leaders of the Pacific Rim late on Friday. China set the tone for the 21 member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting this week, with Xi warning in a video recording on Thursday that the region must not return to the tensions of the Cold War era. On the other hand, Biden is expected to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic recovery.
The APEC gathering comes ahead of a much-anticipated virtual summit between Biden and Xi on Monday, as the superpowers look to prevent growing tensions between the world’s two biggest economies from spiralling toward conflict. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are also expected to speak at the meeting.
APEC is the last multi-lateral meeting of the year and comes after a flurry of gatherings including the high-profile G20 summit in Rome and the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. APEC will be held in Thailand next year. The United States has offered to host the 2023 round of APEC meetings for the first time in over a decade, although a consensus has not been reached on this proposal, officials have said.