Biden reminisces about travel with Xi Jinping after China mocks him


President Biden on Friday reminisced about his travels with Chinese President Xi Jinping after diplomats representing Xi at a summit meeting in Alaska delivered an anti-American diatribe and mocked Biden’s frequent claim to approach China from a “position of strength.”

Biden did not acknowledge the shockingly harsh Chinese attack and instead launched into reflections on his relationship with Xi during a trip to Atlanta.

“I was with Xi Jinping of China, spent more time with him I’m told than any world leader because he was vice president, I was vice president. His president and mine wanted us to get to know one another because it was clear he was going to become president,” Biden told staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I spent, traveled 17,000 miles with him in China and the United States and Asia generally, and met with him I guess they tell me 24-25 hours alone, just me and an interpreter and he and an interpreter.”

He joked: “And by the way, I handed in all my notes.”

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the Beijing Hotel in Beijing, China in 2011.
Then-Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the Beijing Hotel in 2011.
Lintao Zhang, File-Pool/AP

Biden concluded with a story he frequently tells: “But all kidding aside, he asked me right on the Tibetan Plateau, he asked me, he said to me, ‘Can you define America for me?’ I said, ‘Yeah, one word. And I mean it. One word: possibilities’,” Biden said.

The president has not publicly acknowledged the withering verbal attack on his Secretary of State Tony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who did not walk out of the talks in Anchorage in response to the sharp words.

As he left the White House for the trip to Georgia on Friday, Biden said he was “very proud” of Blinken.

In this Sept. 24, 2015, file photo Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Joe Biden walk down the red carpet on the tarmac during an arrival ceremony in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
President Xi Jinping and VP Joe Biden at an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in 2015.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Chinese diplomats publicly accused the US of hypocrisy on human rights, democratic values and cyber warfare.

Aboard Air Force One, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre downplayed the struggle session, saying the Biden administration believes it was intended for a domestic Chinese audience.

“The United States delegation came to Anchorage committed to laying out the principles, interests and values that animate our engagement with Beijing knowing that exaggerated diplomatic presentations often are aimed at a domestic audience,” Jean-Pierre said.

Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi said at the Thursday opening of the forum, “The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength,” directly knocking Biden’s statements.

Xi Jinping shakes hands with Joe Biden inside the Great Hall of the People in 2013.
Xi Jinping shakes hands with Joe Biden inside the Great Hall of the People in 2013.
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

“Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States,” added Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.”

Yang chided what he described as US hypocrisy on human rights and accused the US of being a “champion” of cyberattacks. He invoked the Black Lives Matter movement and said “the challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated.”

The US team appeared unprepared for the verbal assault.

Xi Jinping listens as Joe Biden speaks during the U.S.-China Business Roundtable at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington in 2012.
Xi Jinping listens as Joe Biden speaks during the US-China Business Roundtable at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington in 2012.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Blinken said the US was “not perfect” but that “what we’ve done throughout our history is to confront those challenges openly, publicly, transparently, not trying to ignore them.”

US-China relations plunged last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then-President Donald Trump authorized sanctions against Chinese officials for eliminating Hong Kong’s political autonomy and for mistreating Uyghur Muslims. He vowed to “decouple” the US and China economically in response to deception in early data on COVID-19.

Trump claimed during the presidential campaign last year that China would “own” the US if Biden won, in part because of his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China. As of last month, the first son still owned 10 percent of an investment fund controlled by Chinese state-owned entities. The fund was formed 12 days after Hunter Biden joined his father aboard Air Force Two for a December 2013 trip to Beijing.

Xi Jinping shows Joe Biden a chocolate-covered macadamia nut given to him by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie at the start of a meeting of Chinese and American governors in Feb. 2012.
Xi Jinping shows Joe Biden a chocolate-covered macadamia nut given to him by then-Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie at the start of a meeting of Chinese and American governors in 2012.
Jay L. Clendenin-Pool/Getty Imag

A 2017 email recovered from a hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden described a 10 percent set-aside for “the big guy” as part of a prospective deal involving China’s largest private energy company. That deal did not materialize, but former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski named the elder Biden as being the “big guy.”

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