The Difference Between US and Chinese Foreign Policy in a Word | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

The Difference Between US and Chinese Foreign Policy in a Word

On November 15, US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met for a three and a half hour virtual discussion. Though little of real significance was accomplished, for talks held with a hope of cooling a second cold war, that both sides simply described the talk as cordial is significant.

But there were important differences between the approaches of the two leaders. Biden did reaffirm a commitment to the One China policy, and XI did reaffirmed that China "will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification." And both stressed the need to establish "guardrails" to prevent the situation from going off the rails into a hot war, from "veer[ing] into conflict, whether intended or unintended," as Biden put it.

But Biden couldn’t extricate himself from his cold war framework. While committing to building guardrails in an attempt to tamp down the cold war, Biden could not refrain from his cold war vocabulary. In the White House readout of the meeting, Biden almost immediately slipped into the cold war language of "our allies and partners" "stand[ing] up for our interests and values" and the generational language of ensuring that "the rules of the road for the 21st century advance an international system that is free, open, and fair." "He also discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the United States to uphold our commitments in the region."