US-China Summit

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November 20, 2023

Why in news?

Recently, the US President Joe Biden and the Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco in 2023.

What are the key highlights of US-China Summit?

  • High level diplomacy- Apparent realisation that high-level engagement and open channels are key in preventing competition from sliding into conflict.
  • Military cooperation- It focussed on the restoration of military-to-military communications which is crucial for managing tensions between the two nations.
  • Counter narcotics- China pledged to curb the outbound shipments of substances used to make fentanyl, a powerful opioid that has contributed to many fatal overdoses in the US.
  • Technology- Both agreed to discuss risk and safety issues involved with artificial intelligence.
  • Human rights- US has called China to end human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet and other regions, all of which China has dismissed as interference.
  • Climate change- Both countries agreed to sharply increase clean energy, displace fossil fuels and reduce emissions that are warming the planet.
  • Middle East conflict- The complex role of both countries in the Middle East were highlighted, acknowledging the challenges and responsibilities each nation holds.
  • US sought China’s help to de-escalate tensions with Iran and to urge Iran not to launch proxy attacks on US targets in the Middle East as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues in Gaza.
  • Taiwan- China urged the US to uphold commitments regarding Taiwan's independence as US maintains One China Policy on Taiwan.
  • Stabilise US-China ties- Both agreed to set a minimum level of cooperation and communication to prevent their rivalry from escalating into conflict.
  • This was their goal when two countries last met in Bali in 2022, but it was disrupted by a spy balloon incident.

How does the US China Summit affect India’s interests?

  • India-US relationship- India is a strategic partner of US and it benefits from reduction in US-China relationship as it reduces the risk of conflict and instability in the region.
  • G-2 - A cause of concern for India is Sino-American collaboration in Asia.
  • But the summit was about organising a truce rather strategic partnership that seemed possible at the turn of the century.
  • China’s diplomatic push- China’s relationship with global powers and within South Asia with countries like Bhutan is a cause of concern for India, considering the unresolved India-China border standoff at the Line of Actual Control.
  • Economic impact- Many US companies like Apple and Microsoft are encouraged to diversify and move manufacturing plants to India due to strained relationship between US and China in the past.
  • Climate change- US and China have made pacts in the past that doesn’t take India’s concerns into account.
  • Geopolitical strategy- India should closely watch the potential US-China understandings on regional security issues in the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe

What lies ahead for India?

  • Strengthen ties- India should take advantage of the new possibilities to strengthen its ties with the US, maintain its long-standing ties with Russia, and manage the difficult ties with China.
  • Productive engagement-India should utilise the QUAD forum with US, Australia and Japan.
  • Structural shift- The recent shift in US-China summit is a little cause of worry for India as its own rise in the international system allows it to effectively handle any sudden shifts in great power relations.
  • Focus on AI- India should pay attention to new areas of US-China engagement, such as regulating artificial intelligence.
  • Lesson for India-China- The Summit showed the importance of diplomatic engagement for preventing conflict, which can be adopted to resolve the border crisis.



  1. The Hindu- Xi and Biden meet how it affects India
  2. Indian Express- US-China truce
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