Biden-Xi roundtable panelists (left to right): Mark Wu (moderator), Anthony Saich, and Rana Mitter

Fairbank Center Roundtable: What the Biden-Xi Meeting Means for the World

For this Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies roundtable, Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, and Rana Mitter, S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations—both from the Faculty of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School—join Mark Wu, Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, to discuss the recent summit between Presidents Biden and Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in San Francisco . Given continuing U.S.-China tensions since the two leaders met in Bali a year ago, the participants agree that the most important outcome of the meeting may be simply that the two leaders met. Saich notes that resumption of military-to-military contacts should mitigate some danger but highlights the continuing vulnerability of U.S.-China relations. Mitter adds that anti-China rhetoric surrounding U.S. presidential elections next year may test Beijing’s response to ongoing issues like Taiwan and climate negotiations.

The panelists also delve into the role of China’s economic influence in the Asia-Pacific, specifically its impact on U.S. interests and allies in the region, and whether the future of these relationships will be characterized by coexistence or competition. Saich argues that Xi’s dinner with U.S. business leaders following the summit suggests the Chinese leader’s prioritization of strengthening ties in the business world—though he adds that Xi said little of substance to address business concerns. In their discussion, the professors underscore the complexity of the U.S.-China relationship by exploring both tensions and the path to future cooperation.

Watch the full talk via the Vimeo embedded video below or on YouTube.

[Disclaimer: The video freezes for 90 seconds in the middle. Operator error! You do not need to correct your set.]