Just over ten years ago, the first overt sign of U.S. antagonism to China’s peaceful rise was revealed by U.S. President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” that shifted 60% of its military assets to Asia. This was followed by the 2018 Trump “trade war” with China that imposed tariffs and/or quotas on imports from China to the U.S. This was subsequently expanded into a sanctions offensive against Huawei and Chinese technology imports.
U.S. trade, economic and technology belligerence raged against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) throughout the past decade, even as the latter maintained its patient advocacy of Win-Win cooperation instead of being consumed by the negativity of U.S. hyper-competition. China spread the spirit of cooperation across the world and achieved solidarity around the Belt and Road Initiative, the BRICS Plus, and continued its peace and cooperation offer to the U.S.
When the U.S. overstepped the bounds of healthy debate through the provocative visits by the former U.S. Speaker of the House and other high-ranking American political leaders like, China showed the firmness of its red lines and displayed its iron will by cutting off military-to-military talks with the U.S. However, it maintained other lines of communication to keep the door open to further dialogue and to allow the U.S. to see the disadvantage of hyper-competitive attitudes.
The U.S. trade deficit with China continued to grow, Huawei rebounded with astounding resilience with the rest of China’s microchip industry, China’s trade expanded with the Global South, while U.S. industry encountered deep division since the vast majority of companies could not do without the China market. The U.S. had no other recourse but to seek reconciliation with China, extending the fervent invitation for the Xi-Biden Summit in San Francisco, which became the sidelines highlight of the APEC meet.
Speaking at events during the course of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, President Xi Jinping emphasized that “win-win cooperation is the trend of the times, and it is also an inherent property of China-U.S. relations” being the two largest and most powerful countries in the world going forward. Xi said, “For China and the U.S., turning their back on each other is not an option… Conflict and confrontation have unbearable consequences for both sides.”
The U.S. may have learned its lesson after a decade of confrontational geopolitics with China. It has now come to the table seeking Chinese cooperation on the vital issues of the times, including the restoration of military-to-military talks between the two countries that will now be revived and precursor export curbs on certain drugs. The U.S. is also expected to respect red lines like Taiwan, although this may continue to fester given U.S. recalcitrance to halt arms sales.
On the whole, the Xi-Biden talks is a boon, giving the world an immediate sense of stability amidst the turmoil of Europe in Ukraine and West Asia in Palestine. For Asia and ASEAN, there is renewed hope that the juvenile niggling activities of the Philippine in the South China Sea may be chastened by the accommodation of its Uncle, Sam, for the sake of win-win cooperation. As President Xi said in his speech at the APEC the “absence of cooperation is the biggest risk.”
It should be noted that Uncle Sam’s little nephew President Bongbong Marcos, Jr. got an audience only with the U.S. vice-president in a dry bare room, despite the apparent compliance with the empire’s diktats that turned his country upside-down, upsetting the economic banana cart, aborting vital infrastructure projects, endangering export programs and tourism expectations. For all that not even a personal opportunity to genuflect before the big chieftain.
In the end, despite Biden’s derogatory tone regarding President Xi Jinping’s role in the governance of the PRC, the latter’s “whole-process people’s democracy” has provided the mainland nation and the whole world with a visionary, trustworthy, predictable leadership that guides the global community towards win-win solutions and, as this Xi-Biden dialogue has shown, towards achieving a “community of shared future for Mankind.”. China’s system has prevailed once more to bring the world closer to a future of “forever peace and prosperity.”