And even though they promised to resume military communication, they have not yet done so, and China does not have a sitting defense minister.
"Oftentimes there's an agreement to talk in those channels, and then the meetings never happen," said Jacob Stokes, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
He also questioned whether dialogue would change the course of the People's Liberation Army, which has been accused of increasingly assertive actions toward China's neighbors, notably the Philippines.
"These channels provide the right forum to address miscalculations and inadvertent accidents. But the main problem is seemingly intentional PLA behavior that is dangerous and coercive," Stokes said.
If Xi had declined a summit, even after months of diplomacy by the Biden administration and with elections looming, he would have undermined support in the United States for engagement with China, Stokes said.
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