U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held their first virtual face-to-face meeting of Biden’s presidency last night, lasting three-and-a-half hours and covering the full range of issues critical to the bilateral relationship. Compared to previous interactions between the two sides, the talks were cordial and devoid of unnecessary bluster, with both leaders demonstrating a sober willingness to engage constructively, keep lines of communication open, and work together to tackle common challenges while managing their many differences.
As expected, the meeting did not produce many tangible outcomes. This morning, the two sides did announce an agreement normalizing the issuance of visas for foreign journalists from the two countries, a surprising but welcome step forward. At a Brookings Institution event following up on the talks, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that Biden also raised concerns about China’s growing nuclear arsenal — a hot-button issue in Washington at the moment — and hinted that a bilateral dialogue on the topic may materialize at some point down the road. It is likely that other similar initiatives, particularly on the issuance of generic visas, will be announced in the days and weeks ahead. Läs artikel