As Xi befriends world leaders, his stance on the US hardens

it caught leaked pentagon papers Emphasize how Washington spies on its allies. It also mocked the Biden administration for holding a Democratic Summit last month, calling American democracy “troubled,” “chaotic” and “in constant decline.”


Beijing’s tough line reflects its frustration with a series of U.S. moves, especially with regard to Taiwan, the self-governing island China claims as its own. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited the United States this month and met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. On Monday, Taiwan said it had reached a deal to buy up to 400 U.S. anti-ship missiles to help counter a potential Chinese aggression.

Then there are the ongoing joint military exercises between the United States and the Philippines, the largest in decades.

These actions fueled deeper resentments centered on US restrictions Advanced semiconductors are exported to China, and security ties between the United States and China’s neighbors, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, and India, continue to strengthen.

To Chinese officials, U.S. pleas to resume diplomatic engagement — including a long-awaited phone call between President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping — sound hollow in the face of what they see as rising hostility and provocation. Chinese state media said last week that the high-level talks could only take place after the United States showed “credible sincerity” with concrete actions.


“The current difficulties in Sino-U.S. relations do not lie with China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said when asked recently about the resumption of dialogue with Washington and the possible rescheduling of the Secretary of State’s visit to Beijing. An investigation into Anthony Blinken’s state was dropped after the sky appeared.

“The U.S. side must stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, harming China’s interests, and stopping undermining the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and stresses the need to set up ‘guardrails’ for Sino-U.S. relations,” Wang Yi said.

The Biden administration has said it wants to build “guardrails” to prevent incidents sparked by misunderstandings in hotly contested areas such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, where China conducted live-fire drills in response to Tsai’s visit. Without an agreement and a direct line of communication, the risk of an incident will remain high, as U.S. and Chinese forces patrol the area frequently, often at close quarters.

Beijing views the guardrails as another form of containment, as they would disclose to the United States the extent to which it can be pressured without provoking a military response. China prefers to keep its red lines ambiguous and leave Washington to guess.


China suspended most of its military dialogue with the US after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last August. The Pentagon recently said that just last week, Beijing rejected requests to engage with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.

Blinken expressed optimism that high-level talks will resume.

“My expectation is that we can make progress on this. But it does require China to make clear its intention to do so,” he told reporters at a Group of Seven meeting in Japan on Tuesday.

Analysts said Xi may not see any benefit in talking to Biden at this point, especially as negative views of China in the United States appear to be becoming more entrenched.


“Xi clearly believes that engagement for the sake of engagement is futile. The time for talk is over. Instead, it’s time for Beijing to get ready,” said Craig Singleton, a senior China fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “In short, there is no going back to the past, so Xi Jinping must now prepare China for a more worrisome future.”

Pei Minxin, a professor at Claremont McKenna College who studies Chinese politics, said that once Beijing feels it has more leverage, it may re-engage with Washington. This could come after Beijing deepened its ties with more non-aligned countries, such as Brazil, or after Europe widened its differences over how to keep tabs on America’s hardline stance toward China.

“China wants to engage the U.S. on strength, and China is clearly not in that position right now,” Pei said. “If anything, the U.S.’s success in rallying allies and waging tech warfare against China proves that it’s still more powerful than China. It’s much more powerful and has more tools at its disposal.”

China is trying to strike a balance between snubbing the U.S. diplomatically and trying to convince central bankers and investors to go back to business after years of strict COVID measures.

PBOC Governor Yi Gang met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell last week on the sidelines of a meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington to discuss their countries’ economies. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are also planning visits to China.

But Yi also has grievances.He criticized Western countries for diverting trade from China to geopolitical allies, using the term “Support a friend” In a statement to the International Monetary and Financial Committee on Friday.

Chinese analysts said the prospects for any short-term improvement in Sino-U.S. relations remained slim. Wu Xinbo, dean of the School of International Relations at Fudan University in Shanghai, said the negligible progress Xi and Biden made after their November meeting in Indonesia had all but disappeared after the balloon incident and Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the United States.

“In China’s view, although Biden showed a good attitude in Bali, his willingness to improve Sino-US relations is not strong,” Wu said. “China believes that the United States has neither the sincerity nor the ability to improve relations.”

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