As Xi Promises ‘Dialogue,’ Experts Warn of ‘Smokescreen’ to Buy Time for China
As Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to California Wednesday to meet with President Biden amid the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, experts warned that Biden should limit direct engagement with the communist regime and should not expect Xi to keep any promises in the wake of repeated hostile actions China has taken against the U.S.
Over the last year, the relationship between the world’s two largest economic and military powers has been strained due to a string of aggressive actions on the part of China. In February, the regime launched a spy balloon that transited over much of the continental U.S. before the Biden administration decided to shoot it down.
Other actions have threatened key U.S. allies in the South China Sea, which China has repeatedly claimed it has sole jurisdiction over. In April, the People’s Liberation Army and Navy encircled Taiwan during military drills and repeatedly entered the island’s airspace. In October, Chinese ships blocked and collided with Filipino vessels off the Philippines coast.
China has also engaged in aggressive cyber warfare against the U.S. for years. In May, the Navy announced that it had been “impacted” by Chinese state-sponsored hackers. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro observed that it was “no surprise that China has been behaving in this manner, not just for the last couple years, but for decades.”
The hostile actions came amid a string of denials and broken promises on the part of the communist regime. Following the spy balloon incident, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson claimed it was a “civilian airship used for meteorological purposes.” As noted by National Review, “Xi famously lied to President Obama when he promised that China would not militarize the South China Sea, and China also clearly abrogated a hacking agreement it signed with the U.S. in 2015.”
At the meeting between Xi and Biden on Wednesday, the Chinese premier expressed an apparent desire to smooth over relations between the two countries. He noted that the relationship is “the most important bilateral relationship in the world” and that it “should develop in a way that benefits our two people and fulfills our responsibility for human progress.” Xi further stated that “Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed. And one country’s success is an opportunity for the other.”
By the end of the meeting, Biden claimed that it had included “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had.” Reports indicated that Xi had “agreed to help curb the production of the illicit fentanyl” that has ended up on the streets of the U.S. The two leaders also “reached an agreement to resume military-to-military communications.”
It remains to be seen whether the communist regime will keep any promises Xi made during the meetings.
Even before Wednesday’s meeting between Xi and Biden was held, experts expressed skepticism about what it would accomplish. Gordon Chang, a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, was blunt in his assessment during “Washington Watch” last week.
“This meeting should not be held,” he remarked. “It’s not going to result in any advantage for the United States. You know, we’ve been talking to China intensively for three decades. And over that time, China’s behavior has only worsened. And so the question is, is it responsible to continue a policy that has failed for such a long period? What more can Biden actually say to the Chinese that hasn’t been said up to now? So I believe that we should stop talking, impose severe costs for clearly unacceptable behavior, and just tell the Chinese we’re done with it.”
Chang went on to note that the recent incident in the Philippines marked “increasingly belligerent activity despite written warnings from our State Department that we are prepared to use force to defend our ally under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. And yet that has had no effect on the Chinese, which means deterrence has failed.”
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are also conveying doubts about what the meeting will accomplish. As Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) noted on “Washington Watch” Wednesday, the Biden administration has continually avoided confronting China’s devastating human rights record.
“[O]ne person within the administration [said] the fact that the two are talking is a good thing,” he commented. “Please give me a break. I mean, they’re committing genocide right now against the Uyghurs. They’re upping their religious persecution. [T]here’s a new report [that] just came out by Hong Kong Watch about how Hong Kong is getting worse when it comes to religious freedom. And they’re doing it all throughout the country, just crushing Christianity or trying to. … And then, of course, forced abortion, particularly as a genocide tool. … I have a bill that passed to try to stop it. It’s pending in the Senate. [In addition,] tens of thousands of average age 28-year-olds [are being killed] to get their organs. That’s right out of Nazi Germany. Is Biden going to raise that? Is he going to raise the genocide that’s being perpetrated upon the Uyghurs?”
While the White House claimed that Biden “raised concerns regarding PRC human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong,” during Wednesday’s meeting with Xi, there was no indication that the Chinese dictator made any concessions regarding the issue.
Experts say that “under this smokescreen of ‘constructive dialogue,’” the communist regime will only continue its human rights abuses. National Review’s editors contended that the real reason Xi agreed to the meeting with Biden was merely a ploy. “In its annual report yesterday, the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission put it aptly: Xi is just buying time as the party continues to pursue a historic military buildup and deal with economic and social problems at home. Its overall intentions remain malign. The Biden team is not acting as though it recognizes it.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.