Joe Biden and Xi Jinping Meet: The U.S.-China Summit Stakes

November 15, 2023 Topic: U.S.-China Relations Region: East Asia Tags: ChinaXi JinpingXinjiang

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping Meet: The U.S.-China Summit Stakes

President Biden should use his summit with Xi Jinping to remind China that its behavior is neither acceptable nor sustainable.


The long-awaited Summit between President Biden and General Secretary Xi Jinping will finally take place this week. Despite the hype, very little is likely to be achieved or agreed to by the two nations as the fundamental values and inherent differences between the countries will not evaporate with a single meeting. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) will profess its allegiance to the international order. At the same time, behind the scenes, it will continue its campaign of subversion through the funding of Iran’s murderous regime and the equipping of Putin’s diabolical aspirations. 

So, beyond the diplomatic niceties that will attend the event to cool the temperature, the United States has one clear opportunity to impress upon the global audience that will watch every word and dissect every image, the key difference between the two countries. 


In America’s best tradition of defending the defenseless and standing for the rights of others regardless of race, color, or creed, the presentation of the recently published list by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China of political prisoners being detained by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by Biden to Xi—in public—would project strength and reaffirm that America’s actions match its words. 

This approach has multiple benefits. First, it would provide the U.S. with leverage over China, which is faltering economically and agitating for a position in the world order through coercion, and portray the United States as an honest but hard broker. Second, the presentation of the list would underscore to American businesses that a bet on Xi and continued investment in China is a risk that, in the end, may result in massive losses. Companies should instead engage our allies and partners in Asia now to not only isolate Xi but also protect themselves. Third, the White House has been grappling politically with the fallout from the war in Israel in recent weeks. As a staunch ally, the U.S. has vocally and forcefully supported Israel. At the same time, the Biden administration has tried to tamp down increasing accusations of Islamophobia that have swept through the streets of London, Paris, and New York.

Biden’s presentation of the list of forty individuals—including three U.S. citizens, publisher Jimmy Lai, and doctor and mother Gulshan Abbas and six other Uyghurs—would highlight that no nation has done more to support the predominantly Muslim Uyghur community slowly being eradicated by the Chinese Community Party. The United States was the first nation to recognize the CCP’s crimes against the Uyghurs as genocide and, since then, has led the international community to end this barbarous campaign. The list is a stark reminder of a marginalized Muslim group that has been directly targeted for their religious beliefs by an authoritarian government. 

The PRC’s increasingly antagonistic stance—from its recent spate of naval aggression in the Pacific to its protectionist policies and attempts to undermine global currencies—must be curbed. Biden can remind the world why the United States has been a global leader for more than half a century—because it stands for those unable to stand for themselves.

Amy K. Mitchell is a founding partner at Kilo Alpha Strategies. She brings extensive national security and defense experience to the firm, having advised three Secretaries of Defense and several large defense contractors. Her unique understanding of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests provides companies with high-level insights and counsel. Ms. Mitchell is currently a Fellow at George Mason University’s National Security Institute, a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at New Lines Institute, serves on the advisory board of the Vandenberg Coalition, and is a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Foreign Policy Study Group. She can be found on X @amykmitchell