President Joe Biden departed San Francisco aboard Air Force One on Friday afternoon following four days attending the APEC Summit and holding critical meetings with world leaders.
Following his arrival on Tuesday, Biden had one of the most critical meetings with world leaders in his time in office when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday. Held at the Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside just south of the city, Biden and Xi met for the first time face-to-face following a year of tense U.S.-Chinese relations. With the Chinese needing more favorable economic conditions because of a greatly struggling economy and the recent pullout of much foreign investment, Xi and Biden agreed on several areas that otherwise would not have occurred.
Among the discussions and agreements hammered out in the day long meeting were Xi agreeing to take steps to reduce fentanyl production, both China and the US agreeing to resume military communications in order to better address incidents that have occurred in the past year, and China agreeing to put more pressure on Iran to stop funding terrorist groups. Also talked about were an expansion of U.S. and Chinese flights, agreeing to more cultural exchanges, climate change, the Russian-Ukrainian war, and economic issues.
“I value the conversation I had today with President Xi because I think it’s paramount that we understand each other clearly, leader to leader. There are critical global challenges that demand our joint leadership. And today, we made real progress,” said Biden in a statement on Tuesday. “I’ve just concluded a day of meetings with President Xi, and I believe they were some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had. We built on groundwork laid over the past several months of diplomacy between our countries and made important progress.”
I’ve just concluded a day of meetings with President Xi, and I believe they were some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had.
We built on groundwork laid over the past several months of diplomacy between our countries and made important progress. pic.twitter.com/0RT1q0FZHr
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 16, 2023
Following the Xi meeting, Biden attended an APEC gala on Wednesday night before attending the Summit itself at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Thursday. Early on Thursday Biden and the leaders of 12 other countries including Australia, Japan, and India reached a new supply-chain agreement, as well as a clean energy agreement, and an agreement to combat corruption and improve tax administration for investment transparency.
“Put simply, my colleagues and I are driving a race to the top among nations in the Indo-Pacific, driving nations to the top on standards, on transparency, on inclusivity and innovation,” added Biden. “And, together, we’re going to be forging a better future — one where workers get a fair shot and a fair share of the value they create, where high standards and sustainable growth win out, where we harness the full power and potential of our people.”
Biden in San Francisco
On Friday, Biden wrapped up his San Francisco visit by meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, discussing immigration, fentanyl trafficking, and the end of U.S. sanctions against Cuba. Following that, Biden left San Francisco in the early afternoon for Philadelphia, from where he will continue on to Delaware.
Overall, the President’s visit to San Francisco was seen as mixed, with many applauding Biden reaching numerous agreements over the last few days, and others heavily criticizing Biden for not going far enough with many many leaders there.
Andre Worthington, an economist focused on China, told the Globe on Friday that “Biden’s San Francisco trip was, overall, pretty lukewarm. He did meet with Xi, but he didn’t go as far as people wanted him to. There’s issues over Taiwan and other areas that remained unsaid, and instead the U.S. got some assurances that boil down to China only giving their word on something.”
“The Summit itself, well, there was a whole mood over it. Everyone going in knew about the massive cleanup beforehand, especially all the displaced homeless people within the APEC summit area. Crime was on everyone’s minds following the robbery of that Czech journalist too. On top of all that, there were massive protests across the city, including some turning violent. Biden ignored all of that and focused on the good points. As the host country leader, yeah, that makes sense. But as a leader seeing all these struggles, not mentioning it was not admitting there was even a problem.”
“So Biden was lukewarm. He could have done worse, but he sure as hell could have been better. As for San Francisco, the success of the Summit isn’t a sure thing. We need to wait a month and revisit the area. If the area is still clean and there are no homeless there and crime remains low there, maybe San Francisco did something. But if it reverts, then, at least for San Francisco, all of this was a dog and pony show to make the city look like it is doing better than it really is.”
The APEC Summit ended in San Francisco on Friday.
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