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The Future of China-US Relations

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China’s Ambassador to Washington, Xie Feng, has called for greater cooperation in advancing relations with the United States, urging more “tangible and incremental steps” in areas such as expedited visa processing. However, there is no information provided about whether Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Leaders Summit (APEC). [1]

In a formal address to a gathering comprising diplomats, academics, government officials, and others, he acknowledged his country’s current economic challenges and emphasized that Beijing has no intention of displacing other nations. Xie stated[2] “Many things have changed in China-US relations, but the fact that we are interdependent has not changed.” He continued his remarks as follows:[3]

“Our people’s eagerness for more change and cooperation remains unchanged. Our focus is on becoming better. We have no intention of challenging, competing with, or displacing others.”

Debates continue regarding whether Xi Jinping will attend the upcoming APEC Summit scheduled to take place in San Francisco in the next two months. This meeting is seen as an important step in halting the recent deterioration in China-US relations. Biden has dispatched several high-level officials to Beijing in recent months, and both sides have established two working groups. Xie praised these groups in his speech, but he did not provide a definitive statement regarding whether Xi and Biden will meet to strengthen bilateral relations.

Xie assessed the current state of bilateral relations and potential future steps in his speech. The Chinese Ambassador called for concrete measures to improve his country’s relationship with the United States. These measures include practices such as expediting visa processing and increasing the number of direct flights. An important point emphasized in the speech is China’s lack of intention to displace other countries. Xie stated that China is interdependent with other nations and does not have the aim to compete with or displace them. This statement provides a significant clue to understanding China’s role in the international arena.

At the same time, Xie highlighted the difficulties in bilateral relations, particularly sensitive issues such as Hong Kong not being invited to the APEC Summit and the U.S. stance on this matter. This situation points to potential areas of conflict in bilateral relations. Xie also addressed China’s economic situation, acknowledging the country’s economic challenges but expressing that, in general, it is on an upward trajectory.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, making the first comments regarding Xi’s participation in APEC, stated on September 26, 2023, that Beijing is “in communication with all relevant parties about the forum.”[4]

Wang used the following words:[5]

“China stands ready to play a constructive role in meeting the expectations of relevant parties internationally. However, Beijing expects the host to fulfill its responsibilities from Washington. Host economies bear the responsibility of ensuring the proper participation of representatives of all members in meetings.”

Xie has also proposed that officials from both the United States and China set a timeline to double the number of direct flights between the two countries. He highlighted that Beijing has recently reduced the evaluation time for U.S. visa applications to as short as four days and expressed their expectation of reciprocity in this regard. Additionally, Xie has requested the counterpart to renew the U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement.

Following Xie’s speech, Craig Allen, President of the U.S.-China Business Council, directly engaged in the discussion on September 27, 2023. Allen used the following words:[6]

“Cooperation between the two states is imperative on issues such as arms control, regional stability, global food security, public health, narcotics control, global public good, and many others. Therefore, we eagerly anticipate the continuation of intergovernmental dialogue. We appreciate the comprehensive preparations by both governments for the APEC Summit. We would like to warmly welcome a strong Chinese delegation under the leadership of Xi Jinping.”

In conclusion, these developments serve as a significant source for understanding the current state and future steps in U.S.-China relations. These statements demonstrate the complexity of diplomatic relations and efforts to comprehend the international roles of both countries.


[1] “China-US ties: Ambassador to US Calls for ‘Concrete, Small Steps’ in Relations but Silent on Ehether Xi Will Attend Apec”, CGTN News, https://news.cgtn.com/news/2023-09-28/Chinese-President-Xi-meets-UNESCO-Director-General-Audrey-Azoulay-1ntbCOE9kYM/index.html, (Erişim Tarihi: 01.10.2023).

[2] “China-US ties: Ambassador to US Calls for ‘Concrete, Small Steps’ in Relations but Silent on Ehether Xi Will Attend Apec”, Yahoo Finance, https://news.cgtn.com/news/2023-09-28/Chinese-President-Xi-meets-UNESCO-Director-General-Audrey-Azoulay-1ntbCOE9kYM/index.html, (Erişim Tarihi: 01.10.2023).

[3] Aynı yer.

[4] Same place

[5] “China-US ties: Ambassador to US Calls for ‘Concrete, Small Steps’ in Relations but Silent on Ehether Xi Will Attend Apec”, CGTN News, a.g.e., (Erişim Tarihi: 01.10.2023).

[6] Aynı yer.

Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan Gülten graduated from Yalova University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations in 2021 with his graduation thesis titled "American Foreign Policy" and from Anadolu University, Open Education Faculty, Department of Foreign Trade in 2023. Gülten, who is currently pursuing her Master's Degree with Thesis at Marmara University Institute of Social Sciences, Department of International Relations, was a student at the Faculty of International and Political Studies at Lodz University for a semester within the framework of the Erasmus+ program during her undergraduate education. Working as an Asia-Pacific Research Assistant at ANKASAM, Gülten's main areas of interest are American Foreign Policy, Asia-Pacific and International Law. Gülten is fluent in English.