Author: Tom Westland, ANU

According to the official readout, in their virtual summit this week, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed ‘managing competition responsibly’. For Biden, the talks were a chance to press Xi on China’s actions in Hong Kong and its assertive posture in the Taiwan Strait, as well as human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Xi, for his part, warned Biden against leading the United States into a new Cold War against China.

Missing on the agenda was any serious discussion about the problems facing the global economy as it recovers from the deep recession of 2020.

Aside from some worthy breakthroughs, like the agreement to hold bilateral ‘stability’ talks on nuclear issues, it’s not clear what Xi’s and Biden’s responsibly managed competition will look like. If it looks anything like the managed trade that now governs the economic interactions of world’s two largest economies,…

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