The Exchange provided by the China-United States Exchange Foundation
KEY FOCUS
  • Xi-Biden Meeting | President’s Xi Jinping and Joe Biden met face-to-face this week at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The two leaders discussed restoring openness and communication between the U.S. and China in a meeting that China called “in-depth, candid and constructive.” While the meeting is seen as a positive step for the bilateral relationship, some experts warn that it will not have much of an impact on the current trade relationship
  • International Summits in Southeast Asia | The G20 summit concluded with the adoption of the G20 Bali Leaders' Declaration, which reaffirms a commitment to work together to address global economic challenges. Chinese President Xi attended the summit and met with U.S. and other world leaders. Experts say Xi's meetings with many Western leaders are a significant step toward reducing disagreements. At the ASEAN summit that concluded in Cambodia last week, countries pledged greater regional cooperation to boost the post-pandemic recovery. Another regional summit, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, will be held in Thailand from today to tomorrow.
  • Committed to Net-Zero | China reaffirmed at the COP27 UN climate summit last week that it is deeply committed to reaching its net-zero goals by 2060. This comes as the U.S. and China have decided to reignite climate talks after a several-month freeze after Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. The U.S. and China are not only the world’s largest economies, but the biggest source of fossil fuel emissions, and observers are hopeful their agreement will inspire other countries to take action as well. 
RECENT COMMENTARIES - U.S. 

Foreign Affairs, Why China Will Play It Safe, Christopher K. Johnson, November 14

President Xi’s third term of office has left many outsiders feeling unsettled. But Christopher K. Johnson, President and CEO of China Strategies Group, reminds readers that “the new Politburo is not a war cabinet.” Johnson notes that the U.S. should continue to anticipate Beijing to govern in a “stable and predictable manner” despite Washington seeing the promotion of a “Chinese-style of modernization” as a direct challenge to the current world order. When it comes to the economy, Johnson warns not to underestimate Xi’s new economic team, adding that Xi himself is a “ruthless and tenacious leader, full of ambitions that will not be subordinated by norms.” However, Johnson says this does not mean Xi is looking for a fight, and it is likely that we will instead see decreased bilateral tensions between the U.S. and China.

Financial Times, The China-US relationship needs to be managed, by the Editorial Board, November 14

“The most positive aspect of Monday’s talks between US president Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is that they took place at all,” says the Financial Times Editorial Board. Over the last decade there has been a shift in the U.S.-China relationship, with Washington trying to counter Beijing’s ambitions, while China continues to strengthen economically and militarily despite these attempts. The Board advises that Washington be cautious when managing its relationship with China, suggesting “that decoupling should not crash the global economy; that war must be avoided; and that China’s co-operation is still needed on a range of global issues.” The Board concludes that the U.S.-China relationship should include cooperation on mutual areas of interest to balance the already existing competition. 

China-U.S. Focus, The Real China Threat: Treating Beijing as an Enemy Risks Turning it into One, by Doug Bandow, November 15

Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, anticipates that China is likely to become one of the most contentious issues in America’s 2024 presidential election. Both Democrats and Republicans seem to agree that China is a threat to the U.S., but Bandow disagrees, stating instead, “the PRC poses little direct danger to the U.S.” Bandow explains that while China has a lot of potentials, it still faces crippling issues such as a highly regulated economy, bursting property bubble, and an aging and gender-imbalanced population. Additionally, China’s military poses no direct threat to the U.S., and China’s economic and political influence on the U.S. is limited. “Americans increasingly look at China as a threat rather than an opportunity...However, Americans and Chinese must find a way to live together,” concludes Bandow. 

RECENT COMMENTARIES - CHINA

South China Morning Post, China and US need to build on leaders’ talks in name of stability, by SCMP Editorial, November 15

Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden finally met in person earlier this week, and the SCMP Editorial Board says, “the face-to-face was a chance to make a difference.” During this meeting, both leaders were able to establish red lines in an attempt to prevent current competition from becoming a conflict. For China, this red line is Taiwan. The leaders took the opportunity to discuss cooperation on global issues aside from bilateral tensions, including climate change, drug trafficking, economic development, and the energy/food crisis. The Editorial Board says this discussion was crucial to the fight against climate change, and the announcement that U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will soon be visiting China is “evidence Biden wants to follow up discussions from the meeting.” While the meeting was a positive step in the right direction, the Board warns that the fundamental tensions have not changed.  

CGTN, China, U.S. should bring relations back to the right track, by First Voice, November 14

“The rare but much anticipated face-to-face meeting between the two leaders has set a positive signal not only for the G20 Summit but also for global peace and stability,” says CGTN’s First Voice. The last time the Chinese leader and a U.S. President met in person was before the pandemic, the Ukraine conflict, and heightened tensions in the U.S.-China relationship. First Voice says at the core of these tensions is Washington’s lack of understanding of China’s red lines, and Biden noted that understanding red lines was an intention of the physical meeting. “A stable China-U.S. relationship, after all, is in the interest of the entire world and as such has increasingly become a strong common aspiration of the international community,” summarizes First Voice. 

Global Times, U.S. needs to understand reality of China’s development, Ding Gang, November 16

Ding Gang, senior editor with People’s Daily, explains how U.S. policy towards China is a team decision, so it's important to understand Biden’s National Security Council in order to make predictions on the future of U.S.-China relations. According to Ding, the U.S.-China relationship “need to build a floor,” but this is difficult when Washington continues to change its China strategy. Washington’s recently released National Security Strategy has made it clear the U.S. now sees China as America’s greatest challenge, and there has been a shift in policy toward containing it. However, Ding argues that the U.S. is not seeing China’s reality of having a large population, which requires a lot of effort to govern and makes the country unable to pursue hegemony. He also points out that the U.S. holds “an archaic view of history," which focuses on state-to-state competition rather than seeking development together.

LATEST POLLS AND FIGURES
Global Population Passes 8 Billion Despite Aging Population

a)  A new report from Axios shows that this week the global population surpasses 8 billion people, despite decreased fertility rates over the past several decades and aging populations. 

b) The average human is older than they have ever been, with the median global age rising from 20.6 in 1974 to 30.2 years old in 2022. In 1974, the global population was half of what it is today. 

c) Median age varies greatly by country. For example, in Japan the median age is 49, while in Nigeria it is 17 years old. 

d) An aging population can indicate people are living longer lives and having fewer kids. However, it can have some profoundly negative effects on the economy when non-working older generations outnumber those in the workforce. 

e) Nearly 3/10 births in 2021 took place in sub-Saharan Africa, where the birth rate is double the global average at 4.6 births per woman. 
HEARD FROM THE PEDESTRIAN
Most Talked-About Topics
Selected based on the occurrence of keywords in Twitter posts concerning the China-U.S. relationship in the past week

Trump Enters 2024 Race For President 
Former U.S. President Donald Trump announced this week he will be running for a second term in office in the upcoming 2024 American presidential election. During his announcement speech, he referred to Covid-19 as the “China virus”, a remark that has received negative criticism on Twitter, with users reflecting on the wave of anti-Asian hate the term caused during the pandemic. 

Biden's Remark on Taiwan
After meeting with China’s President Xi in person on Monday, Biden stated he does not believe there is an “imminent attempt” from China to invade Taiwan. Sentiment on Twitter is critical of Biden's statement, with users expressing mistrust in both the President and China.

Top Tweet
BOOK CORNER
Released earlier this week, No Limits: The Inside Story of China's War with the West details the story of a turning point in international relations, as told by Andrew Small, senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Small provides the timeline of how many western politicians and business leaders, from Washington to Berlin, have transformed from some of Beijing’s closest partners to its harshest opponents. In what is called the geopolitical issue of our age, Small looks beyond great power politics and looks into the historical relationship between China, the U.S., Europe, and beyond. Newsweek calls No Limits, “a compelling, first-person perspective on the West's awakening to the systemic challenges posed by China."
EVENTS TO WATCH
 
  • November 15-16: The 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit, in Bali, Indonesia.
  • November 18-19: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Thailand.  President Xi is expected to attend. 
  • December 1: French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife will make first state visit to the U.S. under the Biden Administration. 
  • December 5-17: The COP15 UN Biodiversity Conference location has been moved from China to Canada due to uncertainties around Covid-19. China will continue to chair the conference. 
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