President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to hold a virtual summit this year, according to a report — setting up a high-stakes forum for discussion of tariffs, human rights and Chinese secrecy about COVID-19 origins.
Biden and the communist “president for life” intend to convene the event before 2022, Bloomberg News reports. The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Biden and Xi held a private 90-minute phone call on Sept. 9, but a summit presents significant risk for Biden. Chinese diplomats in March scored a propaganda victory by ridiculing the United States to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s face during an in-person summit in Alaska.
It’s unclear how much of the virtual summit will be public.
The Biden administration has kept many of former President Donald Trump’s policies toward China, including tarrifs on Chinese goods and Trump administration sanctions on Chinese officials for eliminating Hong Kong’s autonomy and for mistreating Uyghur Muslim minorities. But Biden has struck a more conciliatory tone toward China.
The White House said in a readout of the Biden-Xi phone call last month that Biden “underscored the United States’ enduring interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world and the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”
That call description didn’t say if Biden pushed China to be transparent about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 700,000 Americans. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki subsequently declined to say if Biden raised the issue.
US intelligence agencies in August assessed that it’s “plausible” the deadly virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. Psaki recently said that Biden opposes Trump’s demand that China pay $10 trillion in reparations for allowing COVID-19 to spread.
First son Hunter Biden co-owns a Chinese investment firm known as BHR Partners, which was formed 12 days after he joined his father aboard Air Force Two for a December 2013 trip to Beijing, according to recently reported business records.
The Wall Street Journal reports that BHR is co-owned by Chinese state-owned entities.
A 2017 email recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop described a 10 percent set-aside for “the big guy” as part of a prospective deal involving a Chinese energy company. That deal did not materialize, but