On December 6, Robert Manning authored an op-ed in Foreign Policy on the next phase of US-China relations following the Biden-Xi summit. “Post-Biden-Xi summit diplomacy is a test of intentions. The only way to answer fundamental relationship questions is to put aside assumptions and pursue negotiations that will test intentions on the issues that created friction,” wrote Manning.

“The Biden-Xi summit marked an effort to move to the third stage: bargaining. The current US consensus is firm on what Washington objects to but not so on what it wants or needs. One got a sense that both leaders, fearing things were spinning out of control and facing difficult and time-consuming domestic problems, needed to put in place, as Biden phrased it, “commonsense guardrails,” so “competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended.” In short, they wanted a modicum of stability and predictability—to put a floor under the relationship.”

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