Xi Might Need This Summit More Than Biden

US, Chinese leaders meet Wednesday in San Francisco
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2023 12:00 PM CST
Xi Might Need This Summit More Than Biden
In this November 2022 photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with President Biden before their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Nusa Dua, in Bali, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

President Biden meets with China's Xi Jinping Wednesday in San Francisco, and the New York Times reports that Beijing appears to have abruptly shifted its public tone about America to be much warmer. The state-run Xinhua news agency ran a long story Monday detailing the "enduring strength" of Xi's admiration for Americans, complete with decade-old photos of him visiting an Iowa farmer. Other articles and editorials were playing up the importance of strong US ties, a sharp contrast to recent ones warning about a too-aggressive US. The Times notes that the about-face has prompted some double takes and sly digs on social media in China. "So, going forward, do we or don't we need to hate America?" asked one person on Weibo. "So unclear." Related:

  • Fentanyl: Bloomberg reports that the two leaders will announce a deal in which China will agree to crack down on chemical companies to curb the manufacture and export of fentanyl. In exchange, the US will lift sanctions on China's forensic police institute, per the Guardian. Given that fentanyl is seen as a major cause of America's synthetic drug epidemic, the deal would been seen as a "major victory" for Biden, according to Bloomberg.
  • Iran: Tensions between the US and China have generally been on the rise over everything from spy balloons to computer chips to Taiwan. Politico reports that Biden will raise another sore point by pressing Xi to use its influence on Iran to prevent Tehran from trying to turn the Israel-Hamas conflict into a wider regional war.
  • Big for Xi: The Washington Post has a story that might explain the aforementioned shift in sentiment toward America. "Xi needs the summit more than Biden does," says Minxin Pei of Claremont McKenna College. "He needs to show he's respected, that he has stature." The Chinese leader may be at his most vulnerable point ever thanks to a year that saw widescale protests at home to China's "zero COVID" policy and a weaker-than-expected economic rebound after the pandemic. "He's definitely in a worse position than in November of last year," says Pei.
(More US-China relations stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.