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V35: A Thaw in Bali

December , 2022


Hope for New Equilibrium

The much-anticipated in-person meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, on Nov. 14 on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, created a window of opportunity for the two countries to begin repairing their deeply frayed relationship.

Their clear instruction to officials in their governments to immediately start working cooperatively on a range of issues, from climate change to finance and trade, has already gained traction. The worrisome state of bilateral ties finally has a chance to bottom out and find a new equilibrium.

Our contributors describe the latest developments as a catalyst for normalcy, a critical first step, a thaw or putting a floor under relations. Yet their positive comments come with footnotes of caution, as they also see an arduous road ahead to rebuild trust and confidence.

In this issue, we begin by featuring three scholars — Chen Dongxiao in Shanghai, Joseph Nye in Boston and Jeffrey Sachs in New York — in an interview format, gauging their views on what Xi and Biden managed to achieve in Bali and what it means for competition and cooperation between China and the United States.


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  • I think that the summit also gives a kind of a reassurance to the international community that both governments are willing and able to take the China-U.S. relationship back onto a stable track.

    Chen Dongxiao

    President of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies
  • The problem in the great power competition between the U.S. and China is not just because of the Americans. The Chinese get a good degree of credit or blame for it, too.

    Joseph Nye

    University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University
  • And I think the message from the 20th Party Congress and from President Xi was, look, if that’s the view, we will carry on and we will find our way.

    Jeffrey Sachs

    an American economist and former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.
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