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The strange “friendship” between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first bilateral meeting since Biden’s election Monday evening. The meeting was held by videoconference (Xi Jinping has not left China since the start of the coronavirus pandemic) and it was rather cold.

The two leaders talked about various issues that separate China and the United States, including economic competition, the Taiwan issue and human rights, without taking specific steps on any of them.

One aspect of the meeting that caught the attention of many observers, though, was the manner in which Xi Jinping presented the conversation:

“Although it’s not as fun as meeting face to face, I’m very happy to see my old friend.”

The term “old friend” (老朋友, lao pengyou) is somewhat affectionate in China, and is used among people with long shared backgrounds. Xi and Biden have known each other since 2011, when both were still vice presidents, and have met several times, but to say they are “old friends” is a bit excessive, for two reasons: first and foremost because they are leaders of two countries in great and conflicting competition. Second, because the issue of the alleged friendship between Biden and Xi had already surfaced in June, when Biden was He was denied That the two were old friends: ‘Let’s say things are as they are. We know each other very well, but we are not old friends. It’s just work.

Even just before the meeting between the two leaders, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated that Biden “continues to be a no-brainer.” [Xi] Like an old friend.

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The fact that, despite everything, Xi still wants to call Biden an “old friend” is somewhat strange. It could be a simple compliment, or a way to embarrass Biden in front of the American public, which is increasingly suspicious of and suspicious of the Chinese government.

Shi Yinhong, Professor of International Relations at Peking Renmin University, He said a Reuters That «when the Chinese call someone an ‘old friend’, it means that we have known him for a long time. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s still a friend.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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