Chinese leader Xi Jinping appeared to troll President Joe Biden during a meeting between the two world leaders on Monday night by calling Biden his “old friend,” which follows multiple denials from the Biden administration that the two are “old friends.”
The Daily Mail reported:
Over the summer, Biden responded sharply to Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, who asked if he would call Xi ‘old friend to old friend’ – seeking access for World Health Organization investigators searching for the origins of COVID-19.
‘Let’s get something straight,’ Biden replied in June during a press conference in Switzerland. ‘We know each other well. We’re not old friends. It’s just pure business.’
And before Monday’s virtual meeting took place, Press Secretary Jenn Psaki clarified that Biden was by no means close friends with Xi, but said the leaders’ level of rapport would allow them to have ‘candid discussions.’
‘Well…I can confirm…he still does not consider him an ‘old friend,’ so that remains consistent,’ Psaki said ahead of the meeting between the two world leaders.
Yet, during the leaders’ opening remarks on Monday night, Xi opened by referring to Biden as his “old friend,” to which Biden responded by saying, “thank you.”
“Good to see you, Mr. President, and your colleagues,” Xi said. “It’s the first time for us to meet virtually. Although it’s not as good as a face-to-face meeting, I’m very happy to see my old friend.”
The White House claimed that some of the following events transpired during the talk between Biden and Xi, which lasted more than three hours:
- “The two leaders discussed the complex nature of relations between our two countries and the importance of managing competition responsibly. As in previous discussions, the two leaders covered areas where our interests align, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge.”
- “President Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly. He was clear about the need to protect American workers and industries from the PRC’s unfair trade and economic practices. He also discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the United States to uphold our commitments in the region. President Biden reiterated the importance of freedom of navigation and safe overflight to the region’s prosperity. On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States remains committed to the ‘one China’ policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances, and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
- “President Biden also underscored the importance of managing strategic risks. He noted the need for common-sense guardrails to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict and to keep lines of communication open.”
- “The two leaders also exchanged views on key regional challenges, including DPRK, Afghanistan, and Iran. Finally, they discussed ways for the two sides to continue discussions on a number of areas, with President Biden underscoring the importance of substantive and concrete conversations.”