Geopolitical Insights

Academy SITREP – Biden to Meet with Xi at APEC Summit in San Francisco

November 14, 2023
What has Happened:

  • As we anticipated in our October ATW, President Biden is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping tomorrow at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, CA.
  • This will be the first meeting between the two leaders since the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia last year and will be the first time Xi has visited the U.S. in six years.
  • A variety of topics will be addressed, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, North Korea, AI, advanced semiconductors, the Israel-Hamas war, and the risk of escalation in the Middle East.
  • One especially critical item to be addressed will be establishing open lines of communication between the U.S. and the Chinese militaries, especially in light of the recent close call with a Chinese fighter and a U.S. B-52 over the South China Sea in late October (in addition to over 180 other intercepts over the last two years).
  • While the topic of Taiwan will likely come up at the meeting, it is unlikely that it will be a leading issue and both parties will try to limit the amount of time spent on it especially in light of the upcoming elections in Taiwan early next year.
  • However, the pace of Chinese exercises around Taiwan continued to increase this year, with the September exercises setting records in their size and scope (17 warships, including the Shandong aircraft carrier, along with 103 Chinese warplanes flying near Taiwan’s airspace in a 24-hour period).
Why it Matters:

“The meetings between Chinese government ministers and our Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary have set conditions for military-to-military communications to be restored now that China removed Li Shangfu, the former sanctioned Defense Minister, from his position because he is no longer an inhibitor to military cooperation/talks. Any other takeaways will fall into the category of “trust but verify.” Regarding Taiwan, China has already used its influence and money to set conditions for President Tsai’s current VP Lai not to win in January by working to get the TPP and KMT to cooperate and agree on a single candidate prior to the 20-24 November presidential candidate registration. I don’t expect any major announcements but do expect that an outcome of the meeting will be further dialogue on sensitive issues in the future.” General KK Chinn

  “I think that the two heads of state talking is an accomplishment in itself, which allows for follow-on dialogue by other staff and cabinet members. I think that the agenda items listed above are good, but the outcome will be contingent on which of those agenda items are followed up on/pursued. I am not sure that any definite change like a resumption of the military-to-military hotline will be announced, but some believe that this is a simple enough decision to say that the talks were successful.” General Frank Kearney