Name? Xi Jinping
Westphalian identity? Chinese
Why is he in the news? Chinese president Xi Jinping and US president Joe Biden met in person for the first time as leaders. They discussed their difficult relationship over the past few years due to China’s growing militarisation in the South China Sea and the U.S.’s increasingly aggressive trade and geopolitical stance towards Beijing.
Why do we care? These two are arguably the most powerful people in the world. President Xi recently secured an historic third term in power, which all but sets him up for life as leader of China and elevates his status further. Both leaders assured the world that they do not seek any conflict, conversely, responsible competition and to return US-China relations to “a stable track of development”.
Why should you care? Xi and Biden jointly declared their strong stance against the use of nuclear weapons, particularly in the conflict in Ukraine. They also iterated the intention to work out their differences and collaborate on a myriad of global issues like climate change (paused since August), global economic stability, health security, and food security. You should care 10/10 about the warming relations between the two most powerful countries and the potential for positive impacts on supply chains, geopolitics, and more.
Who else cares? Russian President Vladimir Putin. Just this year, Xi and Putin declared their limitless friendship; and while Xi is all for disrupting the liberal world order, global stability is much more important to him. With the disruptions brought by China’s “Zero-Covid” policy, he is seeking stability where he can, in order to ensure China’s continued growth. Under this premise, Putin’s war in Ukraine not going to plan is becoming an increasing problem for Xi.
Any further comments? Resumed climate talks are good for the ongoing COP27 in Egypt. The last big push for global climate efforts occurred under a joint commitment from Barack Obama and Xi.