Following weeks of mounting tensions, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet in San Francisco on Wednesday to address several pressing issues including the fentanyl crisis and lack of military communication between the two nations.
In an interview with Fox News, National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell revealed that the meeting between the two leaders is expected to be intense as they discuss key issues that have strained relations between the U.S. and China.
"The president tasked us several months ago to try to come up with some sort of progress on one of the most terrible things that is a blight on America, the fentanyl crisis," Campbell told Fox News Digital. "So we've worked over the course of several months with Chinese interlocutors demanding progress on cutting off support from precursors that are produced by Chinese companies and then shipped largely to Latin America. And then they make their way up into the United States."
A confused Biden looks to Antony Blinken, who then instructs the press to leave so Biden and Xi Jinping can meet privately.
Biden just sits there and smirks. pic.twitter.com/ndOevPoQUn
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 15, 2023
The fentanyl crisis has heavily impacted the U.S., with the highly addictive opioid causing a record number of overdose deaths in recent years. The Biden administration has been pushing for action from China to stem the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. and Campbell expressed optimism that they will see progress.
"We're going to have to see how it's implemented," Campbell continued. "But so far, we believe the Chinese are going to take consequential steps that will essentially help us get a handle on really one of the most terrible drug epidemics the United States has ever faced. There's a back and forth on this. If they, in fact, make these arrests and shut down these companies, then we will be lifting a few sanctions."
Another crucial issue to be addressed between the two leaders is the increasing number of incidents between Chinese and U.S. military forces. Campbell highlighted the risk it poses to American servicemen and the difficulty in maintaining communication between the two militaries.
The Biden administration has repeatedly argued that as China’s economy worsens, the CCP will become less aggressive abroad. Rep. Gallagher disagrees, saying, “If we're wagering the fate of the free world on the fact that Xi has to deal with domestic economic and demographic… pic.twitter.com/7fFHQ0URCD
— Rep. Gallagher Press Office (@RepGallagher) November 16, 2023
"We see lots of activities, Chinese pilots and ships that are operating unsafely and that risk American servicemen that are forward deployed in the Indo-Pacific," Campbell said.
He further added that the U.S. seeks to establish responsible mechanisms for crisis communication to prevent escalation and inadvertent conflicts. The lack of meaningful communication between the two militaries has been a major cause for concern, with Chinese military leaders refusing to engage with U.S. counterparts.
Anti China protests while Xi is meeting with Biden. I bet Newsom wasn't expecting this. https://t.co/NAaqQJ2pOP
— Wendy Patterson (@wendyp4545) November 15, 2023
"We believe that the Chinese will come around to see that some of this is also in their best interest as well," Campbell said.
The meeting between Biden and Xi is expected to be a crucial step in addressing key issues that have caused tensions between the two nations. Campbell emphasized the importance of the meeting and expressed confidence that with Biden's experience and relationship with Xi, they will be able to make progress in finding solutions to these pressing issues.