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

. China is trying to improve relations with American allies while damaging the U.S.'s reputation.

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


Top leader of's


Jinping rolled out the carpet for Luiz Inacio

Lula da Silva

Brazil, hailing him as an "old friend of the Chinese People." In a French garden, he sipped tea with President Emmanuel Macron and treated him to a performance by an ancient Chinese zither. He also spoke on the phone to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, wishing him well for the Muslim holy period of Ramadan.

But even though Xi offered a happy hand to these and other

World leaders

In recent weeks it's been the cold shoulder from the United States. China has rejected attempts by the Biden Administration to restart high-level discussions and lower tensions regarding


Xi’s government has intensified a mocking and criticizing campaign against the United States, and Western democracies.

Beijing's efforts to strengthen ties with American allies, while discrediting America publicly, reflect Beijing's escalating position, as relations reach their lowest point in years over Washington's "containment encirclement, and suppression of China," as Xi described it. Some analysts claim that Xi's two-pronged strategy is a compelling proof that he is fully committed to his view that engagement between China, the United States, and other geopolitical flash points is futile, at least in the short term. It has also heightened concerns that China and the United States are on a collision path that could result in dangerous accidents or war over Taiwan and other geopolitical hot spots. Xi was rebuffed in his diplomatic efforts by the United States, and even some of its closest allies. This week, a group of senior diplomats from Group of Seven major industrialized countries gathered together in Japan to discuss China's increasing assertiveness. Xi and other Chinese officials have still received some of what they hoped for over the past few months. They are able to chip away at the alliances which underpin Washington's power. During Xi and Lula's meeting, Lula railed against U.S. dollar dominance in trade, and visited a Huawei research center, which has been sanctioned by the United States. Macron praised European autonomy, and warned against the United States dragging Europe into a conflict over Taiwan. Crown Prince Mohammed also praised China for its "constructive" role in the Middle East. This was a subtle jab at the United States, and the strained relations in the region. Chinese state media have also railed at the "perils" of American hegemony, and criticised the United States for its human rights record, racism, and gun violence. The Chinese state media has used the leaked Pentagon files to show how Washington is spying on allies. It has also mocked Biden's administration for hosting a democracy summit last month. It described U.S. Democracy as "troubled,"'messy' and in constant decline. Beijing's more aggressive stance reflects frustration over the U.S., especially in relation to Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims. Tsai, the president of Taiwan, met with Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker, during her visit to the United States. Taiwan announced on Monday that it had reached a deal with the United States to purchase up to 400 anti-ship missiles. This will help Taiwan counter an invasion by China. There are also the United States' largest joint military exercises with the Philippines in many years. These moves compound resentments centered on U.S. limitations on advanced semiconductor exports from China, and the growing security ties that exist between the United States with countries in China's peripheral region such as Japan. South Korea, Australia, and India. U.S. calls for renewed diplomatic engagement – including a long-awaited phone call between President Joe Biden, and Xi – ring hollow to Chinese officials in light of what they perceive as increasing hostility and provocation. Chinese state media stated last week that high-level discussions can only take place after the United States shows "credible sincerity" with concrete actions. Wang Wenbin said that the United States is not responsible for the difficulties in China-U.S. Relations. He was asked recently about the possibility of rescheduling a Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Beijing, which had been cancelled after a high altitude Chinese spy ballon appeared over the United States continent in February. Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said recently that "the U.S. must stop interfering with China's domestic affairs and harming China’s interests and stop undermining our bilateral relationships while stressing the necessity to put 'guardrails on the relationship." The Biden administration wants to set up "guardrails" in order to avoid an incident arising from a misunderstanding in areas that are highly contested, such as the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait where China held live-fire exercises in response to Tsai’s visit. The risk of an incident is high without protocols and direct communication lines, as U.S. forces and Chinese forces regularly patrol the area, often at close quarters. Beijing sees guardrails as a form of containment, because they show the United States just how far it is willing to go in order to trigger a military reaction. China prefers that its redlines remain ambiguous, leaving Washington in the dark. China suspended the majority of military dialogues with the United States in August last year following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Last week, the Pentagon reported that Beijing refused to engage with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Blinken expressed optimism that high-level discussions would resume. "I expect that we'll be able move forward in this area." He told reporters at the G-7 meeting in Japan on Tuesday that China must make its intentions clear. Analysts believe Xi believes he does not have anything to gain by speaking with Biden now, especially as negative views of China are becoming more entrenched in the United States. "Xi believes that engagement just for the sake of engagement is a foolish errand. It's no longer time to talk. It's now time for Beijing, said Craig Singleton of the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies, to "batter down the hatches." "Simply stated, the past is gone and Xi now has to prepare China for a more uncertain future." Minxin Pei is a professor of Chinese politics at Claremont McKenna College. She believes that Beijing could reengage Washington when it feels more empowered. Beijing could reengage with Washington after strengthening ties to nonaligned nations like Brazil, or after dividing Europe over whether it should follow the United States' tougher stance towards China. Pei stated that "China wants the U.S. to engage from a strong position, but China is not in this position right now." "If anything, America’s success in rallying its allies and fighting the tech war with China proves it's still more powerful and has more resources at its disposal." China is trying a delicate balance between diplomatically snubbing America and convincing central bankers and other investors that the country is now open for business after years of strict COVID measures.

Yi Gang, China

Central bank

Governor, met with Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell last week on the sidelines a World Bank/International Monetary Fund Meeting in Washington to discuss their economies. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are planning to visit China.

In a Friday statement to the International Monetary and Financial Committee, he criticized Western nations for diverting trade from China towards geopolitical allies. He used the term "friendshoring" when referring to this. Analysts in China say that the chances of Sino-U.S. ties improving any time soon are remote. Wu Xinbo is the dean of Fudan University's international studies. He said that the modest progress Xi made with Biden after their November meeting in Indonesia has all but disappeared following the balloon accident and Tsai’s visit to the United States. Wu stated that although Biden displayed a positive attitude in Bali he was not willing to make a significant effort to improve Sino-U.S. ties. "China believes that the U.S. is neither sincere nor able to improve Sino-U.S. relations," Wu said.

This article was originally published in

The New York Times


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