Xi and Biden meet amid a fracturing world order © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters 

 Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post: Xi and Biden meet amid a fracturing world order 

 There’s a lot riding on the meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping when the two convene at a summit of Pacific rim nations on Wednesday. Both leaders will face each other after months of tensions and anticipation. There have been angry barbs tossed over the future of Taiwan and stealthy balloons sent over the North American landmass. Beijing fulminates over a legacy of U.S. global “hegemony” and styles itself as a champion of a different kind of international order. The Biden administration, much like its right-wing predecessor, sees a rising China as the main 21st-century challenge to the United States on the world stage, and has sought to organize both its domestic and international agendas in response.  

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WNU Editor: I have a different take from the above Washington Post article. I personally think Chinese President Xi made the decision to go to San Francisco to meet Biden, albeit on the sidelines, to gauge if there has been any change in US thinking and policy since he last talked with the US President. It is one thing to see and read on the news and listen to one’s subordinates on what is the status of U.S. – Chinese relations, it is a whole different level when the leaders meet. 

As to what both sides expect. On the U.S. side the White House has been very clear on what they want (link here). But this is not what Beijing is focused on. Their focus is on issues like Taiwan and trade, and they certainly want the U.S. to back-off as China continues to become a global player while deepening ties with countries that the U.S. is in conflict with (i.e. Russia and Iran). 

My prediction. 

Nothing is going to change from today’s meetings. On the big issues the two sides have no common ground.