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Editorial: U.S., China should continue talks to prevent clash

  • November 17, 2021
  • , Mainichi , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held online talks that spanned more than three hours.


While conflict between the U.S. and China is conspicuous on such issues as Taiwan, human rights, trade, and cyber, the goal of the talks was for the leaders to communicate and discuss measures to prevent conflicts from arising.


We can say that the summit achieved some outcomes in that respect.


President Biden said that the two countries “have a responsibility to prevent competition from turning into conflict.” Xi responded that they “should promote dialogue and cooperation.” The leaders emphasized the importance of discussions on risk management and the stabilization of bilateral relations.


The actions of the U.S. and China — both military and economic superpowers — affect the entire international community. It is very meaningful [that the two countries] explored how best to coexist.


Of course, this does not mean that improvements will be seen immediately.


Inaugurated in January 2021, the Biden administration has taken a competitive stance with China and prioritized the rebuilding of its domestic economy and alliances. In response, China has taken the stance of not cooperating until the U.S. changes its stance.


Military and political tensions over Taiwan have heightened, and conflict has intensified due to human rights issues in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The reality is that the two countries have not been able to build a constructive relationship over the past 10 months.


At the summit, President Biden raised his concerns and Xi called for respect for China’s position. There was reportedly a fierce debate on the Taiwan issue.


It is important to actively pursue the kind of diplomacy that can overcome difficult situations. This meeting is one step in that direction.


The global community is concerned that conflict will arise between the U.S. and China and that the global economy will be put into disarray. The U.S. and China bear a heavy responsibility to avoid such a situation.


The risk of a clash over the Taiwan issue will lessen if the U.S. maintains a “One China” policy out of consideration for China, and China pursues a “peaceful solution.”


Before the summit, the U.S. and China announced a joint declaration calling for stronger cooperation on climate change countermeasures. The declaration lacked specifics, but it was very significant that the two nations’ announced the agreement to the world.


It may be possible to expand cooperation into such areas as nuclear disarmament, infectious disease control, and revitalization of the global economy by using the joint declaration as a precedent.


The two leaders smiled over the monitor during the summit and made a display of sharing a close friendship. This is a good opportunity to make use of this personal relationship for the stability of both countries.

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