31 Oct 2023 -

US and China lean into pivotal summit: Electronics high on agenda


The leaders of the US and China, two of the world’s superpowers, are making strides towards a critical meeting next month, reports Reuters. US officials announced that both nations have agreed to work collaboratively on a planned summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, following comprehensive talks in Washington. These discussions saw Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi engage with senior US diplomats, marking the first such visit by a Chinese foreign minister to Washington since 2018.

During his stay, Wang also had an hour-long meeting with President Biden, which the White House described as a “good opportunity” to maintain open channels between these global heavyweights. Both nations have historically been major stakeholders in the electronics industry, with supply chains interwoven in intricate patterns of global trade. Their collaboration or rivalry can significantly influence the direction of this industry.

Detailed meetings were also held with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US national security advisor Jake Sullivan. Among the pivotal issues discussed were the resumption of military-to-military channels, activities in the East and South China Sea, Taiwan, human rights concerns, the flow of fentanyl precursors, and the cases of detained Americans in China.

The focal point of positivity seems to be the upcoming anticipated face-off between Biden and Xi during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. An official, choosing to remain anonymous, mentioned preparations for this meeting, while also stating, “Obviously, Chinese leaders often confirm publicly much closer to a trip.”

Reflecting on his talks, Wang mentioned his visit aimed to “stem the decline” in the relations between the US and China, “with an eye on San Francisco”. The objective of this summit in the heartland of tech innovation could have considerable ramifications for the electronics industry.

Furthermore, Wang highlighted that China gives weight to the US’s desire to stabilise and enhance US-China relations. The Biden administration views direct discussions with Xi as critical in ensuring that these competitive tensions don’t escalate into overt conflict.

Signifying the importance of dialogue, Wang expressed to Blinken that the two countries must engage in “in-depth” and “comprehensive” discourse to bridge misunderstandings and cement ties.

In recent months, there has been a marked increase in diplomatic engagements, primarily initiated by the US, trying to rescue the deteriorating relationship, a decline highlighted by events like the US’s downing of an alleged Chinese spy balloon.

However, the dynamic between the US and China has been further complicated by global events, including the Israel-Hamas conflict. The US hopes China can leverage its rapport with Iran to prevent the situation from escalating further.

Amidst these geopolitics, the potential summit in San Francisco could be a turning point, particularly for industries like electronics, as two giants find ways to work together or establish new lines of competition.

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