The Cable

China’s vice president is Biden’s Valentine

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is coming to Washington to meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Valentine’s Day, as President Barack Obama‘s administration tries to romance the next leader of China. Xi’s visit will reciprocate Biden’s trip to China last August. That trip was filled with all sorts of adventures, such as when Biden ...

HWEE YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images
HWEE YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is coming to Washington to meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Valentine’s Day, as President Barack Obama‘s administration tries to romance the next leader of China.

Xi’s visit will reciprocate Biden’s trip to China last August. That trip was filled with all sorts of adventures, such as when Biden stopped in a local family restaurant for noodles and when he attended a Georgetown basketball game in Beijing — the game before the infamous on-court fight dubbed "The Great Brawl of China."

The White House statement announcing the Feb. 14 visit said that Xi will meet with Obama, Biden, and other senior administration officials "to discuss a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues."

No word yet on where Xi will be eating or whether he will attend any sports events — but he will travel to Iowa and California, the White House said without any further elaboration.

Xi is widely expected to succeed President Hu Jintao later this year. He currently serves as the top-ranking member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, the country’s vice president, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, president of the Central Party School and the 6th ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee.

He is married to famous singer Peng Liyuan and his daughter is currently enrolled at Harvard University under a pseudonym.

The visit will be the first public display of what many are calling Biden’s new control over the administration’s China portfolio.

"National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon has essentially been holding the China policy portfolio himself since September 2010 when in the early part of that month he and then Obama national economic advisor Lawrence Summers went to Beijing to attempt a reset in a quickly deteriorating US-China economic and military relationship," Steve Clemons reported in The Atlantic this month.

"The shift to a strategy of engagement with Biden at the top, orchestrated by Donilon, allows the US to deal with China’s likely next president from a Vice President to a Vice Premier/Next President status — and to continue both the Departments of State’s and Treasury’s ongoing engagement with other designated key Chinese leaders."

One protocol note for Biden: Chinese Valentine’s Day isn’t until August, so don’t be offended if Xi doesn’t arrive with chocolate and flowers in hand.

 Twitter: @joshrogin
Tag: China

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