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Summing Up the Biden-Xi Summit

The meeting between the US and Chinese presidents in San Francisco confirmed that the world’s most important bilateral relationship continues to be a highly competitive one. The challenge remains what it was prior to their talks: to ensure that competition does not preclude selective cooperation or give way to conflict.

NEW YORK – Summits are by definition occasions of high politics and drama, so it comes as little surprise that the November 15 meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping generated immense global interest. It was a useful meeting: Biden and Xi agreed to restart military-to-military communications, curb the deadly opioid fentanyl, fight climate change, and discuss risks associated with artificial intelligence. But it was also something less than a reset of a relationship that has been deteriorating for several years and that will remain typified by competition more than anything else for the foreseeable future.