Continued dialogue is way to avoid conflict

A battle for supremacy in which China is challenging the international order led by the United States is affecting the politics and economy of the entire world. Engaging in dialogue and preventing the rivalry from developing into a military conflict is the minimum the United States and China should do.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held an in-person summit for the first time. The meeting is said to have lasted about three hours.

U.S.-China relations have been unprecedentedly tense since China conducted large-scale military exercises in waters near Taiwan in response to a visit to the island by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August. Dialogue between the two countries has come to a halt, including talks between their military officials, as China has refused to confer with the United States on various issues.

The fact that the two leaders exchanged views and confirmed both sides’ positions in the face-to-face meeting is a significant step toward the easing of tensions. On the other hand, it also showed once again that the rift is too deep to produce results in a single summit.

On the Taiwan issue, Biden said the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo and objects to China’s coercive actions toward Taiwan.

In response, Xi stressed that the Taiwan issue is at the core of China’s interests and is a red line that must not be crossed in U.S.-China relations. This is a one-sided view that does not allow the United States to get involved in the issue.

Xi objected to the U.S. policy of imposing trade restrictions on China to address Beijing’s theft of technology and unfair trade practices, saying such restrictions “undermine international trade rules.” Regarding criticism of human rights violations, Xi argued that his country implements “Chinese-style” democracy.

The bold remarks suggest Xi might be trying to reinforce his reputation as a strong leader to people in China, following the establishment of his long-term leadership at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress last month.

China’s threats to global peace and free trade, and its disregard for universal values such as human rights and the rule of law have triggered concerns in the whole international community, not just in the United States. It is unacceptable that Xi does not understand the situation and dismisses it as interference in internal affairs.

If Xi wants to enhance China’s prestige and stabilize U.S.-China relations, he should reflect on his own words and actions.

Many international problems could be mitigated or resolved if the United States and China work together. Biden and Xi are said to have agreed to oppose the use of nuclear weapons or nuclear threats in Ukraine.

Xi needs to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine and stop making nuclear threats against that country. Xi should also change his current stance of tolerating North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and steadily implement U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 16, 2022)