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Biden’s China summit was a reminder: the US should talk to its rivals more often | Christopher S Chivvis

Biden deserves credit for pushing for the meeting despite an often heatedly anti-China political environment in the US

Wednesday’s meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping was a lot harder to pull off than the photographs of the two leaders ambling around the gardens of the Filoli mansion outside San Francisco may have made it appear. The White House has spent the last 10 months working to restore dialogue after years of mounting tension that most recently featured an errant Chinese observation balloon and possible Chinese military support for Russia’s war on Ukraine. In the process of working toward the meeting, the White House faced strong domestic political headwinds.

Finding a modus vivendi with China will involve deterrence and sometimes sharp competition. But dialogue is the only way to reduce misperception and unneeded economic, military and financial costs. The actual outcomes of the summit were modest, but major breakthroughs take time and if Biden and Xi had not met, the outlook for stabilizing the relationship would be bleak.

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