In a surprising turn of events, the delicate dance of diplomacy between China and the United States saw a glimmer of hope in 2023. President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden after their pivotal meeting in Bali, set the stage for a potential stabilization of the often tumultuous China–US relations. However, this journey towards détente faced unexpected obstacles leading to a rollercoaster of developments that unfolded in the subsequent months.
Balancing Act: Political Shifts and Economic Priorities
The delicate balance of China–US relations hinged on significant political and economic shifts. The Republican control of the House of Representatives added a layer of complexity influencing Biden’s maneuverability in implementing policies towards China. Simultaneously, China grappling with economic challenges made stabilizing relations with the US a top priority during its 20th National Party Congress.
Tensions between the two nations reached a critical point, prompting urgent measures to prevent escalation. The December 2022 diplomatic efforts near Beijing aimed to lay the groundwork for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to China in February 2023, a plan disrupted by an unexpected balloon incident leading to a temporary setback.
Despite the balloon incident’s interference, Blinken’s successful visit in June 2023 marked a turning point. Both sides committed to maintaining communication and implementing measures to stabilize the relationship leading to reciprocal visits by senior officials from both countries.
Path to Consensus: Working Groups and Summit Milestones
Building on the momentum, the two nations established working groups to address economic, financial, maritime, foreign policy, arms control, non-proliferation and climate change matters.
The October 2023 visit by a bipartisan US congressional delegation.