Biden Puts on ‘Diplomatic Smokescreen’ for Xi as US Tries to Encircle China

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in San Francisco for a summit with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, and to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting. The US may have rolled out the red carpet, but Beijing should have no illusions about Washington’s intentions, says geopolitical analyst Brian Berletic.

The Chinese and US presidents are meeting Wednesday for what is only their second face-to-face talks since Joe Biden took office in 2021. The meeting was expected to touch on an array of issues, from tensions over Taiwan, to Chinese efforts to shore up its military capabilities in the South China Sea amid relentless ‘freedom of navigation’ patrols by the US Navy and Coast Guard, trade-related problems and a host of other matters.

Washington hawks expected Biden to bring up issues including AI competition, claims of Chinese theft of US technology, the Asian nation’s alleged role in America’s drug epidemic, the crises in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Korean Peninsula, and “human rights violations.”

Preparations for Xi’s visit and the APEC meetings reportedly involved months of planning, with San Francisco driving its homeless community off the streets and asking them not to come back until the prestigious international events were over. At the same time, preparations for the Xi-Biden summit were reportedly planned down to the smallest details, such as the flower, food and beverage arrangements at the meeting, to ensure that the Chinese leader received the appropriate level of respect.

Xi and Biden last met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia last November, and have interacted a total of six times since the US president stepped into the Oval Office, including virtual meetings and telephone conversations.

Mainstream media observers have agreed that above all, Wednesday’s summit was aimed at reducing tensions between the superpowers.

But China’s leaders should remain firm and not allow Washington to shake Beijing’s hand with one hand while preparing to stab it in the back with the other, geopolitical analyst and former US Marine Brian Berletic says.

“The United States has a long history of hiding behind superficial diplomacy while taking further concrete steps toward conflict. Many times the US uses the smoke screen of diplomacy to put itself in a more advantageous position for when a confrontation finally takes place,” Berletic told Sputnik.

Pointing out that Washington has not given up on its rejection of the idea of China’s global rise, and continues to take steps to “encircle” and “contain” the Asian nation, the observer warned that Biden’s diplomatic overtures in San Francisco may have hidden, sinister motives.

“The US likely wants to convince the globe that the US is seeking diplomacy while in fact setting the stage for conflict. It will then present China’s reaction to US provocations as ‘aggression’ while citing its own ‘diplomacy’ as proof it tried peace before ‘reluctantly’ resorting to conflict,” Berletic noted.

The Biden administration already has experience in the latter regard, with the US president meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Geneva in June 2021, ostensibly in a bid to defuse tensions. A little more than half-a-year later, the US and NATO were embroiled in a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

Berletic stressed that even as the Xi-Biden meeting in San Francisco was taking place, “the US is expanding its military footprint” in the Asia-Pacific region, “encouraging nations like the Philippines to escalate tensions with China and encouraging separatism in Taiwan, including by continuing to arm Taiwan.”

“The US superficially appears to be pursuing diplomacy, opening the door to possible normalization, but its actions tell a different story, one in which it is still wholly dedicated to ‘containing’ China, which leaves only the door to conflict open,” the observer warned.

As an example of the US administration’s deceit, Berletic took note of Biden’s possible meeting with TSMC founder and Taiwanese special envoy Morris Chan during the APEC summit, a move likely to enrage the Chinese, which see Taiwan as a breakaway province destined for eventual, hopefully peaceful, reunification with the mainland.

“It is a predictable power move by the US,” Berletic said, “inviting and securing China’s participation in the summit, then humiliating China by asserting US plans for Taiwan over China’s internationally recognized claims of sovereignty over the island province.”

As for Taipei, it too shouldn’t lean into thinking it can depend on Washington too much, Berletic said, suggesting the US government’s discussions with Taiwanese chip makers “may be a continuation of the ongoing process of stripping them of their assets (moving them to the US) and intellectual property ahead of a destructive proxy war the US appears to be moving toward involving Taiwan against the rest of China.”

Biden already got off to an early start in the ‘humiliating China’ department on Tuesday, telling Democratic donors in San Francisco that the Asian nation has “real problems,” and suggesting that “President Xi is another example of how reestablishing American leadership in the world is taking hold.”

However, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson was quick to counter Biden’s remarks, saying there wasn’t a country in the world “that does not have problems,” and expressed hopes that the United States would be able to “truly solve” its own. “The key to stabilizing and improving China-US relations is both sides working together, and the most fundamental condition is mutual respect,” the spokesperson said.

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