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“Intense Diplomacy’: Biden and Xi to Connect in the Bay Area for APEC Conference

International relations are set to take center stage as US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to meet on the sidelines of the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in San Francisco’s Bay Area, in what is being described as an intense diplomatic push to rebuild relations between the two countries. The two leaders had previously met during the Shanghai summit in 2014 but have yet to meet since then. With a new Biden administration in Washington, the meeting signals a shift in relations and could provide opportunities to establish a common ground on a wide range of issues between the two countries. Economically, the US and China have been at odds for much of the last decade, with many in Washington calling for the Biden administration to take a tougher stance on the world’s second-largest economy. The meeting further highlights Biden’s commitment to restoring relations between the two countries, as the US looks to bridge the divide on a number of key issues such as trade, technology, and human rights. The meeting also comes at a time of heightened tension within the Asia Pacific region, as the region grapples with increasing tensions between China and other countries in the region, in particular Taiwan. With Biden vowing to take a harder line on the South China Sea, the meeting not only provides an opportunity for the US and China to rebuild ties with one another, but can also serve as an avenue to discuss regional issues. The meeting is sure to yield results, but what those results will be is still unknown. As the two countries seek rapprochement, the hope is that they can build on past agreements and come up with more sustainable solutions to the problems that have divided them. This is no easy feat, but can only be achieved with collaboration and dialogue. Regardless, the meeting itself provides a positive sign that Biden and Xi are prepared to move forward in a constructive manner.