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Biden hails ‘most productive’ talks with China’s Xi yet many critical issues not tackled

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) waves as he meets with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, in Woodside, California, the United States, on November 15, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

US President Joe Biden has hailed the “most constructive and productive” talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on curbing illicit fentanyl and restoring military communications, although the pair did not tackle many critical issues lingering unresolved between Washington and Beijing.

Biden and Xi touted agreements they had reached particularly on cutting fentanyl production and resuming military communication after a four-hours-long meeting on Wednesday although both acknowledged that deep differences still remained unresolved on economic competition and global security threats.

“I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader-to-leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunications. We have to ensure competition does not veer into conflict,” Biden told Xi.

The US president also said that they had agreed to pick up the phone and talk during periods of disagreement, hailing the talks as “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had.”

Biden said that Xi had agreed that Beijing would go after companies that produce precursor chemicals to fentanyl. Some reports allege that these chemicals partly come from China to cartels that traffic the narcotic into the United States, which is now struggling with an overdose crisis.

“As always, there is no substitute to face-to-face discussions. I’ve always found our discussions straightforward and frank,” Biden noted.

The US president again labeled Xi as a dictator, hours after his meeting with the Chinese leader, despite hailing the progress achieved over the course of their face-to-face meeting.

When asked whether he still believed that Xi is a dictator after calling him so back in June, Biden responded that he still believed that his Chinese counterpart was a dictator in a sense.

“Well, look, he is. He’s a dictator in the sense that he’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that's based on a form of government totally different than ours,” Biden said.

Xi at one point called on the US to not plan to “suppress or contain” his country, according to a readout released by China’s state news agency Xinhua.

“China has no plans to surpass or unseat the United States, and the United States should not scheme to suppress or contain China,” he told Biden during the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

“Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed,” Xi stressed.

“For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option. It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other and conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequences for both sides,” the Chinese president went on to say.

The two western and eastern powerhouses currently disagree with each other on just about every major issue, from human rights, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), the Ukraine conflict, North Korea, and the transfer of technology to the shape and naming of the map.

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