By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation
President Joe Biden is poised to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year as Beijing continues to act increasingly hostile toward the U.S.
Ahead of Biden and Xi’s expected presence at the Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in November, Xi could separately visit with Biden at a potential summit in Washington, D.C. before the year’s end; it would be the first time the two world leaders would have personally met in a year, as tensions between the U.S. and China have steadily increased, according people briefed on the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. Biden and his administration have called for cooperation and diplomacy in dealing with China, even as the country has aggressively expanded its military to potentially go to war with the U.S. and invade Taiwan.
“A Biden-Xi meeting will be enormously productive for China,” Gordon Chang, foreign affairs expert and senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Xi, despite all the problems he has at home, is incredibly arrogant at the moment. He is especially that way with the American president, who has signaled desperation to talk to Beijing.”
“Biden is appearing desperate to be friends with China. I suppose he is trying to convince the American public that the Communist Party has, in fact, corrupted his family,” Chang said. “Let’s pray that Biden is not going to rescue the CCP.”
China’s recent obstinance toward the Biden administration skyrocketed when fighter jets shot down a surveillance balloon after it was initially detected spying on Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base, which houses a key element of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, in February. The balloon was part of a larger espionage effort by China to collect information on other countries; Xi was reportedly incredibly upset that the balloon was shot down.
Biden later said that the balloon’s demise was a “great embarrassment” to Xi and referred to him as a “dictator” in June, ahead of Blinken’s diplomatic visit to Beijing. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called Biden’s comments “ridiculously absurd and irresponsible.”
Ahead of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s trip for diplomatic talks with Beijing in August — following a line of Biden administration officials’ recent unsuccessful trips — it was discovered that the Commerce Department and the State Department’s email servers had been breached by a Chinese-based hacking group since May. It was revealed this week that approximately 60,000 emails in total were stolen from the State Department; the number stolen from the Commerce Department has yet not been reported.
China has also acted increasingly hostile toward Western companies as it fights an ongoing trade war with the U.S. over the critical semiconductor industry. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on chipmaking exports to restrict the flow of Western technology; China has put restrictions on the raw materials necessary for the U.S. to build computer chips.
Aside from its espionage and trade war efforts, China has encompassed its technology sector into its military to rapidly advance its capabilities, and is working in concert with countries like Russia to mutually bolster their defenses. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall gave a stern warning in September that it “couldn’t be clearer” that China is preparing for a war that the United States has “no modern experience with.”
China’s military could also be pointed toward Taiwan as the country has made increasingly aggressive military demonstrations around the island in recent months, including firing missiles off its coast and naval and air maneuvers. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and acted hostile to countries that try to intervene on the island’s behalf.
Taiwan has called on western nations to recognize its independence formally, which most countries – including the U.S. – has refused to do. During his Beijing visit in June, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reinforced the U.S.’ “One China Policy” immediately after being called on to do so by Chinese foreign policy czar Wang Yi.
“The Biden cabinet’s ‘zombie engagements’ with Beijing this year have done nothing to roll back the CCP’s malign activities,” Bryan Burack, senior policy adviser at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF. “China continues to escalate its belligerent actions in the Taiwan Strait, cut off critical minerals, and subvert U.S. sanctions and technology controls.”
Biden and Xi have not met since the G20 summit in Bali in November of 2022; Xi was notably absent from both this year’s Group of 20 summit in New Delhi and the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Following the G20 summit, Biden said he had wanted to meet with Xi but wasn’t surprised by his lack of presence.
“It’s not like there’s a crisis if I don’t personally speak to [Xi]. It would be better if I did, but – look, this isn’t a criticism, it’s an observation, but he has his hands full right now,” Biden said, in reference to China’s struggling economy. “Anyway, nobody likes having celebrated international meetings if you don’t know what you want at the meeting… he may have a gameplan, he just hasn’t shared it with me.”
Biden’s microphone was subsequently cut off after he said he was “going to bed.” During the U.N. General Assembly a week later, Biden promised that the U.S. is “ready to work with China” on a number of issues, including the “most critical” problem of climate change, and does not seek to de-couple from the communist country’s economy.
“Normally two super-powers talking to each other is a routine and normal process without risk,” Mark Montgomery, senior fellow at the Foundation of Defense of Democracies and retired rear admiral, told the DCNF. “But when one of those powers, China, has acted like a child ignoring basic requests for military hotline checks, refusing to travel to international meetings where the other is present, acting aggressively towards the others allies and partners, you have to be careful not to reward this behavior.”
Biden’s possible meeting with Xi could get scrapped if tensions between the U.S. and China rise any further, according to the officials who spoke to the WSJ. A potential government shutdown in November could pose further risks for the summit being held.
The Biden administration has recently expressed interest in a meeting with Xi, with the State Department saying Wednesday that there’s “no substitute for leader-to-leader communication.”
“At a time China is preparing to wage war on America, Biden is not emphasizing defense; he’s trying to establish communication channels with a Chinese regime that has no interest in sharing the planet with us,” Chang told the DCNF.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.