Joe Biden met Xi Jinping in Bali, for the first time in Biden’s presidency. Some analysts say the meeting finally gave the president the opportunity to tell Xi, face-to-face, that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggression against Taiwan and genocide against the Uyghurs, not to mention Tibet and the Falun Gong, are unacceptable.
Biden could have demanded a proper scientific investigation of the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan—something Xi has forbidden to the international community.
Despite arguments against enabling and ennobling an intransigent totalitarian by granting Xi a public meeting with a U.S. president, analysts argue that face-to-face is the only reliable way to influence Xi with facts.
Xi surrounded himself with politburo yes-men at the CCP congress in October. They are not likely to risk arrest by telling Xi what he does not want to hear.
Only the most powerful heads of state can tell Xi the truth without risking massive repercussions.
Such individuals are few indeed and include a handful of heads of state from the United States, Germany, France, Britain, India, and Japan. Most other countries are too weak, economically or militarily, to confront Xi with points of view he prefers to ignore.
Biden met with Xi in Bali and could have spoken truth to power. But he apparently “squandered” the opportunity, as Gen. Jack Keane and journalist Maria Bartiromo observed on Fox News, to directly inform Xi of Washington’s commitment to defend Taiwan militarily and to tell him that cross-strait aggression is purely on the part of the CCP.
China’s “People’s Liberation Army,” a misnomer like no other, regularly threatens Taiwan by crossing the median line over the Taiwan Strait that divides the two countries.
Bartiromo said that Biden should also have publicly raised COVID-19 and the continued failure to conduct a proper scientific investigation in Wuhan as to its origins. Millions died, and millions more could die from the next pandemic because we failed to learn our lessons from the containment failures of late 2019. We cannot learn the lessons without an investigation.
Team Biden was apparently too busy trying to get Xi to denounce the possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia and North Korea, to truly confront the threat from Beijing itself. The administration is overwhelmed with a multitude of crises. Each global dictator can, as a result, more easily use aggression for their short-sighted gains.
The proliferation of authoritarian threats is getting out of Biden’s control because rather than focus on rallying allies and increasing our combined military defenses, the president is busy pleading with Xi for help.
Xi must think Biden a real fool, as it should have been clear by 2013, when Xi launched his politicized anti-corruption campaign, that he is not a cooperator unless it serves his long-term power grabs.
Xi wants us to give up on Taiwan, Uyghurs, and COVID-19 accountability. And Biden apparently fell into this trap in Bali. The dueling statements from each side show that Biden may come out looking like the nicer guy, but Xi emerges as having dominated the summit.
According to Beijing’s statement, which is riddled with falsehoods and includes revolting photos (given the context of ongoing genocides and Xi’s norm-breaking third term in power) of the two leaders smiling and shaking hands with an on-center Chinese flag:
“President Biden congratulated President Xi on his re-election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. … President Biden reaffirmed that a stable and prosperous China is good for the United States and the world. The United States respects China’s system, and does not seek to change it. The United States does not seek a new Cold War, does not seek to revitalize alliances against China, does not support ‘Taiwan independence,’ does not support ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan,’ and has no intention to have a conflict with China. The U.S. side has no intention to seek ‘de-coupling’ from China, to halt China’s economic development, or to contain China.”
Nothing in the White House statement is as strong, and no correction was issued on what should be publicly declaimed as mischaracterizations of U.S. foreign policy.
Markets responded by rewarding Chinese companies, which saw their shares rise almost 5 percent on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index. According to Bloomberg, the meeting “spurred bets that better collaboration and cooperation between the two sides will reduce the risk of delisting of hundreds of Chinese companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from the U.S. due to audit issues.”
Biden got outfoxed, again, because he thought he could achieve U.S. objectives in Asia with a big smile and velvet glove, sans the iron fist within.
That simply doesn’t work with dictators like Xi and Vladimir Putin. They take niceness as weakness. They pay attention to little more than force and economic power. They think freedom, democracy, and human rights get in the way of “progress,” defined as the expansion of their own power.
Xi cannot, therefore, be expected to respond to reasoning from a democratic perspective. Continued meetings with democratic leaders that he can spin publicly to his malign interests, and that give him media coverage as a legitimate global leader, should be avoided. The focus should instead be on rallying our allies and materially improving our joint deterrence.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.