On November 4, 2022, Chancellor Scholz paid an eleven-hour visit to Beijing with a group of top German business executives. He was the first Western leader visit to China since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the first major political leader to meet Xi Jinping after the Chinese Communist Party Congress.[i] At the end of March 2023, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón visited China. He was followed by President Macron and the President of the European Commission von der Leyen last week.
On March 26, in Poland, President Biden referring to President Putin said, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Administration officials immediately scrambled to clarify that what he meant was not regime change. “That’s not for Biden to decide,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. “The president of Russia is elected by Russians.” Two days later, Mr. Biden said that his comment was an expression of his outrage and not a change in American policy.
No one hoped for a breakthrough at the US-China talks in Anchorage. And only a few might have expected the talks to start with such an exchange of sharp rebukes. After all this was the first high-level meeting between the Biden administration and Chinese officials.
Before meeting their Chinese counterparts, Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held talks with their counterparts in Tokyo and Seoul. This was the first cabinet-level overseas travel of the Biden administration. Japanese Prime Minister Suga will be the first foreign leader to visit Washington in April for a summit meeting.
Following the Second World War, the standoff between the US and Russia, NATO and the Warsaw Pact was called the Cold War. Nonetheless, in 1969, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed. The same year, Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were launched. These talks led to Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 1972. Thus, East-West relations moved beyond Khrushchev’s “peaceful co-existence” to a period of “détente”.
In September 1990, Congress of People’s Deputies voted for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This marked the end of a bipolar world and the beginning of a unipolar one, of US supremacy.