President Joe Biden greeted Chinese President Xi Jinping, the leader of the nations most Americans now name as the greatest threat to the United States, with a warm, two-handed handshake Wednesday in California.
In a White House video posted to YouTube that some critics will undoubtedly point to as an example of federal government inefficiency, just over 46 minutes of a slide announcing the “greet” was followed by just over one minute of footage of Xi getting out of a car and walking with Biden into a building after waving briefly to reporters.
“President Biden, what’s your message to China today?” one reporter called out.
Whatever it is, it’s more than the message he had for that reporter, whom he ignored as he turned and walked with Xi into the building.
Video taken from another angle, however, provided a better view of the actual meeting of the two world leaders.
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A separate video began a few minutes later and showed the two leaders greeting each other across a wide table.
“Well, Mr. President, it’s good to see you again,” Biden said in his first remarks, which he obviously read. “We’ve spend many hours together over the last 10 or 12 years, and to host you in the United States is a great honor and a pleasure.”
Biden listed a number of topics that he said were “critical” issues for the two nations to discuss, including climate change, counter-narcotics and the development of artificial intelligence.
Xi’s opening remarks were no less friendly (or unprepared). He also had a list of issues on hand, mostly economic — continuing to recover after the pandemic, a sluggish economy and rising protectionism.
He also said that the China-U.S. relationship was “the most important bilateral relationship in the world.”
“For two large countries like China and the United States,” Xi said, “turning their back on each other is not an option.”
You can watch their opening statements here:
A Pew Research poll taken in July showed that 50 percent of Americans named China when asked an open-ended question about the nation posing the greatest threat to the U.S.
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