Biden and Xi Jinping, the presidents of the United States and China, respectively, met for the first time in a year at a mansion near San Francisco on Wednesday (15), beginning their meeting with a friendly handshake. The face-to-face encounter took place at Filoli, a mansion that was used as a set for the television series Dynasty and is located in Woodside, California.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and marked the resumption of communications between the two countries’ armed forces. Additionally, Biden sought to persuade Xi to take steps to control the flow of chemicals used to manufacture fentanyl, a powerful opioid that has killed nearly 200 Americans per day according to statistics. In return, Xi requested that Biden commit not to interfere in Taiwan’s presidential elections in January or support a possible declaration of independence for the island.
Despite hopes for major agreements, both sides recognized that they needed to reestablish lines of communication in different areas to prevent competition from turning into an open conflict. The relationship had been strained since Donald Trump’s presidency (2017-2021), when tensions escalated due to trade wars involving mutual tariffs. However, recent diplomatic efforts have aimed to revitalize bilateral relations. In June, members of the US government traveled to Beijing for talks with Chinese officials, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit in June and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s meeting with Biden in late October.
While neither side left Wednesday’s meeting with any concrete agreements in hand, it was seen as an important step towards rebuilding trust between two nations with significant global influence.