Published On: Fri, Nov 17th, 2023
World | 3,524 views

Xi Jinping left ’embarrassed’ by Joe Biden’s comment about his wife | US | News

Xi Jinping was left “embarrassed” by a comment Joe Biden made about his wife during their historic meeting earlier this week.

The two presidents sat down together on Wednesday just outside of San Francisco for a meeting that’s being widely touted as a welcome detente amid rising tensions.

In addition to a formal bilateral meeting, Biden and Xi shared a lunch with top advisers and strolled the verdant grounds of the luxury estate where their meeting took place.

It was during one of these lighter moments that Biden made a comment that left the Chinese president red-faced.

US officials said the conversation took an awkward turn when the 80-year-old Democrat wished Xi’s wife a happy birthday.

They explained: “Biden wished Xi’s wife a happy birthday – (she) and Biden share the same birthday. Xi said he was embarrassed, had been working so hard and had forgotten that his wife’s birthday was next week.”

Xi then thanked Biden for reminding him and – presumably – got straight to work on a last-minute plan to surprise the woman he married in 1987.

The light-hearted exchange was welcome, given that the two powers have been on a collision course over trade and competing visions for the world order.

Biden said afterwards that the meeting included “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had”.

He added that they will “keep the lines of communication open” and Xi is “willing to pick up the phone” — no small thing in the world of high-risk, high-stakes diplomacy between Washington and Beijing.

In another potential sign of warmer feelings, Xi signalled later in the night that China would send new pandas to the United States after the three at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington were returned earlier this month.

In a speech, Xi said he wanted to “deepen the friendly ties between our two peoples”.

The Chinese president also learned that Americans — particularly children — were “reluctant” to say goodbye to the rare and popular animals.

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