WASHINGTON — In a diplomatic milestone, President Biden is slated to engage in face-to-face talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month at the upcoming international summit in San Francisco, as officially confirmed by the White House on Tuesday. This marks Biden's second in-person meeting with Xi during his presidency, the first being in Bali last year. Xi's visit will be his first to the United States since his trip to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in 2017.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the summit at the regular White House briefing, stating, "It's happening. It's going to be in San Francisco." The Biden administration had previously hinted at the possibility of a meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit scheduled for November 11-17.
Amidst speculation about the visit, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin cautioned on Monday that the journey to San Francisco might not be straightforward. "I want to stress that it won't be plain sailing to San Francisco, nor can we leave it to autopilot to get us there," Wang remarked during a press conference. He emphasized the need for both sides to adhere to the agreements made in Bali, act on the common understandings of the two presidents, and overcome obstacles to foster mutual understanding.
President Biden often reflects on his past travels with Xi during his tenure as vice president, emphasizing the importance of preventing the competitive edge in U.S.-China relations from escalating into conflict. However, critics, particularly from the Republican camp, accuse Biden of not taking a stronger stance on key issues, such as pressuring Xi on curbing Chinese exports of illicit fentanyl, linked to a surge in U.S. drug overdose deaths, and demanding transparency on the origins of COVID-19, which has claimed over 1.1 million American lives.
Notably, these sensitive topics were not publicly addressed by President Biden during his opening remarks at the Bali summit. Tensions between Biden and Beijing escalated in the past year, with the U.S. President referring to Xi as a "dictator" at a June fundraiser. Additionally, the shoot-down of a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina in February further strained relations.
The recent launch of an impeachment inquiry by House Republicans into Biden's involvement in his son Hunter Biden and brother James Biden's foreign business dealings, including ventures with Chinese government-linked companies, adds another layer of complexity to the delicate diplomatic dance between the two nations. These ventures resulted in substantial income flowing into the first family, sparking further controversy in the ongoing narrative of U.S.-China relations.
In a twist of familial involvement, President Biden's connections to his relatives' engagements with Chinese government-linked ventures have come under scrutiny. It has been revealed that Biden was present in discussions related to these ventures, potentially earmarking a 10% share for himself in a venture that ultimately yielded approximately $6.1 million for his son, Hunter Biden, and brother, James Biden. House investigators, armed with subpoenas, have recently obtained bank records belonging to James and Hunter Biden, aiming to unravel any potential ties between the president and foreign government-linked income.
Drawing a stark contrast in diplomatic styles, in 2017, former President Trump welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to his club in Palm Beach, Florida. During this meeting, Trump notably emphasized his projection of strength by ordering airstrikes on Syria, all while sharing what he described as the "most beautiful piece of chocolate cake." Subsequently, Trump initiated a tariffs-driven trade war against China, with the goal of compelling a trade deal to bolster the economic standing of the United States. However, this effort faced a significant setback with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, potentially from a lab involved in risky research.
Despite the change in administration, President Biden has opted to maintain Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods, showcasing a continuity in the approach to economic relations between the two nations. As the intricate web of familial connections and geopolitical strategies unfolds, the delicate dance between the United States and China continues to navigate through a complex landscape of past dealings and present challenges.
In the evolving narrative of U.S.-China relations, the revelation of President Biden's familial connections to Chinese government-linked ventures adds a layer of complexity to the diplomatic landscape. The scrutiny over his involvement in discussions and potential financial stakes in these ventures, coupled with ongoing investigations into his relatives' bank records, intensifies the focus on the intersection between family ties and foreign dealings.
This revelation comes against the backdrop of a contrasting diplomatic era under former President Trump, who, in 2017, projected strength in the midst of shared delicacies with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump's subsequent initiation of a tariffs-driven trade war aimed at securing a favorable deal faced an unexpected disruption with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, further entangling the economic dynamics between the two global powers.
President Biden's decision to maintain Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods signals a strategic continuity in navigating the delicate balance of U.S.-China economic relations. As the Biden administration grapples with the intricacies of past dealings and present challenges, the pursuit of transparency and accountability in familial and geopolitical arenas will undoubtedly shape the future trajectory of these consequential international relationships. The intertwined threads of personal and political dimensions underscore the intricate dance between the United States and China on the global stage.