U.S. Follow Up On Positive Summit Talks Is A Boycott Of China’s Olympics

Yesterday China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden held a virtual summit.

It was the U.S. side which had initiated the event. The expectations were low, the outcome was meager:

The virtual meeting between President Biden and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, produced no breakthroughs in a relationship that has spiraled dangerously downward. That was not the intent.

Instead, the two leaders sought to keep the many disputes between the two countries from escalating into a broader conflict. If they can translate their words into a kind of détente, it would count as a diplomatic success.

At the end of three and a half hours of talks, the two did not even cobble together the sort of joint statement that has typically punctuated summits between the United States and China over the decades. Mr. Xi’s last meeting with an American president, Donald J. Trump in 2019, also ended with no joint statement, marking the deterioration in ties.

“We were not expecting a breakthrough,” a senior administration official told reporters shortly after the talks with Mr. Xi ended. “There were none.”

Administration officials declined to discuss what was said about the nuclear buildup, beyond a vague statement that Mr. Biden “underscored the importance of managing strategic risks.”

Other topics that analysts thought would come up did not, according to the senior administration official. They included disputes over granting visas for diplomats, journalists and others, as well as a possible invitation to attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.

The Chinese analysis of the event in form of a Global Times editorial was a tad more optimistic:

The virtual meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden was held on Tuesday morning Beijing time. The readouts released by the two sides are both relatively positive. The world has seen how Chinese and US leaders frankly discuss strategic, overall and fundamental issues between China and the US, as well as issues of mutual concern. The wordings in their readouts have catered to the feelings of the other side. The readout of the US side did not use tough words as it had used before the meeting. The meeting will play an active role in leading international opinion for their positive expectations toward China-US relations.

However, the editorial also warned that while the U.S. is often positive at such events its tends to not follow through:

It is most important for both countries to implement the consensus spirit of this summit and respond with constructive moves in various spheres. There is worry that though the two leaders had a good talk, but the momentum cannot be relayed to key areas of the bilateral ties. After a brief period, the positive atmosphere will be exhausted by new and existing frictions.

We have had some sharp lessons, and the US is generally the side to blame. For example, the US often released confrontational messages soon after important phone calls or meetings between Chinese and US heads of state are held.

The editors of the Global Times will thus not be surprised by the Biden administration’s immediate follow up to the ‘relatively positive’ talks:

With the Beijing Winter Olympics just three months away, the Biden administration will soon have to make clear whether it plans to send an official delegation to China. But sooner rather than later, according to several sources familiar with the plans, the White House is expected to announce that neither President Biden nor any other U.S. government officials will attend the Beijing Games. This diplomatic boycott is intended, the sources say, as a way to respond to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses without impacting U.S. athletes.

Although the administration technically has not finalized this decision, a formal recommendation has been made to the president and he is expected to approve it before the end of the month, administration sources confirmed.

One might concluded that Biden was pissed off for not receiving the expected formal invitation to attend the Beijing games and therefore decided to boycott them.

But I rather believe that the Chinese side knew that the boycott was coming. A formal invitation that would be have been rejected would be a bigger loss of face than not inviting Biden at all.

Joe Biden’s foreign policy is a ‘more of the same’ one as under the Trump administration. It is formed by an establishment that is unable to correct its errors. It is delusional and destined to fail.

Hopefully not catastrophically.

Via https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/11/us-follows-up-on-positive-summit-talks-by-boycotting-chinas-olympics.html#more