China’s President Xi Jinping hailed U.S. President Joe Biden as an “old friend” before the highly anticipated online summit conference Monday evening. This conference produced no big advances.
This morning, @FLOTUS and I are participating in a Tribal Nations Summit here at the White House. I look forward to announcing steps to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans, protect Tribal lands, treaty rights, and sacred places.
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 15, 2021
Xi’s choice of language to describe his connection with Biden contrasted with the president’s and White House’s descriptions. Biden emphasized his friendship with Xi as a benefit in increasingly tense diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China. Biden also denied claims he and Xi are buddies.
At the outset of the meeting, Xi stated, through a translator, this was their first online meeting. While it isn’t as wonderful as a face-to-face reunion, Xi said he was delighted to see his old buddy.
Why the Need to Deny Friendship?
Biden stated on many occasions he “traveled 17,000 miles” with Xi while serving as vice president in the Obama regime.
However, the president reacted angrily during a news briefing in June when Fox News’ Peter Doocy questioned if Biden would contact Xi “old pal to old pal” to urge China’s help in investigating the genesis of COVID-19.
According to Biden, they are not longtime friends; they are just very familiar with one another and the relationship between them is just plain business. At her daily press conference, Psaki reaffirmed the claim only hours prior to the meeting, telling the press Biden is still not an old friend of Xi.
POTUS to @pdoocy 6/16: "Let's get something straight, we know each other well, we're not old friends."
Jen Psaki today: "I can confirm, Peter, he still does not consider him an old friend."
Xi (through translator) to Biden tonight:
I am very happy to see my old friend."
— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) November 16, 2021
The White House set modest expectations for the summit, which resulted in no significant initiatives or even a joint statement. Nonetheless, White House officials stated the two leaders had a serious conversation.
Both Biden and Xi stressed the need for straightforward communication in long-term diplomatic partnerships.
Furthermore, Xi stated both China and the U.S. are currently at vital stages of growth; he said humankind lives in a global community and confronts various problems together. On the other hand, Biden advocated for commonsense safeguards to prevent conflicts from growing into violence.
Biden Has His Own Agenda to Pursue
Biden emphasized all countries must follow the same set of norms. That is why the United States will always defend its interests and ideals, as well as those of its allies and partners.
He went on to add if history is any indication, Biden is confident they would be discussing their issues from civil rights and economics, to guaranteeing an open and free Indo-Pacific.
Republicans criticized the Biden administration for neglecting to hold Beijing responsible on human rights issues to advance its climate agenda.
In a statement issued shortly before the start of the leaders’ meeting, the Republican National Committee stated Biden is turning a blind eye to human rights violations in furthering his political narrative.
The GOP also said Biden permitted China to endanger American safety and the sovereign rights of their allies while weakening the development of freedom around the world.