China’s state media arms mocked leftist American President Joe Biden on Monday for what Beijing branded a “lukewarm” and “embarrassing” trip to the Middle East that did not appear to result in any concrete agreements or benefits for America.
Biden visited Israel and Saudi Arabia last week, culminating the trip with meetings with King Salman and the nation’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally in the region, was especially controversial because Biden had vowed as a presidential candidate to turn the country into a “pariah” in response to the brutal killing and dismembering of Islamist dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
Reports also indicated that Biden was visiting the country to ask Riyadh to increase its oil production – potentially lowering gasoline prices in America – which Saudi officials denied they had the ability to do. Biden denied that he was visiting Saudi Arabia to request more oil in a column titled “Why I’m Going to Saudi Arabia,” published in the Washington Post before his trip. The article did not provide an answer regarding why Biden was going to Saudi Arabia, instead condemning Russia for its escalation of the eight-year-old war in Ukraine that began in February.
China’s government-run Xinhua News Agency condemned Biden on Monday for allegedly trying to “cajole” Mideast countries into behaving in ways that benefit the United States.
“No matter how the U.S. side cajoled and nudged, the countries in the region responded tepidly,” Xinhua proclaimed. “Biden neither succeeded in his bid to form a regional military alliance against Iran nor convinced Saudi Arabia to act immediately to raise its oil output.”
Xinhua described the response from regional leaders to Biden’s presence as “lukewarm” and claimed that America was simply “unwelcome” in the Middle East.
“Why? The fundamental reason is that Washington’s hegemonic thinking and confrontational approach counter the region’s aspirations for development, cooperation and peace,” Xinhua concluded. “Its true face as a ‘troublemaker’ has become increasingly clear to the people of the Middle East.”
The Global Times, one of China’s Communist Party newspapers, cited anonymous pro-regime Chinese “experts” in an article published Sunday concluding that Biden achieved nothing with his visit and that any attempt to villify China, or Russia, had failed.
“[I]n the eyes of Chinese experts, Biden’s Middle Eastern trip was both ‘fruitless’ and ’embarrassing,'” the Global Times proclaimed. Unlike Xinhua, which claimed that Biden’s failure was rooted in alleged “hegemonic” thinking, the Global Times specifically cited America’s respect for human rights – unlike rogue states such as China and Russia – as an “insurmountable obstacle” in relations with brutally repressive monarchies like Saudi Arabia’s.
“Experts also pointed out that the US advocacy of human rights and its ideology are insurmountable obstacles that have caused deep-rooted suspicion and distrust between US and Middle Eastern countries,” the Global Times speculated. “Which are also growing more suspicious of Washington’s ‘self-interest first’ diplomacy.”
In contrast, the anonymous Chinese expert noted that “China won’t preach to Middle Eastern countries what to do and what values they should adopt, and won’t slap sanctions on them.”
The Global Times concluded that America’s influence in the region was clearly “declining.”
China is arguably the world’s most repressive totalitarian state. The Global Times omitted from its coverage that the Chinese Communist Party is currently engaging in genocide against the Muslim ethnic groups of occupied East Turkistan, imprisoning as many as three million people in concentration camps there, mass sterilizing women, and forcing Muslim men into slavery.
Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in Islam, Mecca, and Medina. Muslims are obligated to visit Mecca at least once in their lives as part of their faith for a journey known as the hajj. Saudi leaders have yet to condemn China’s Muslim genocide despite their leadership role in the faith. On the contrary, Saudi officials have arrested individuals who dare mention the genocide within its borders to placate its trade partner China.
No reports out of Biden’s meetings with Saudi officials indicate that Biden discussed the Chinese genocide of Muslims with King Salman or his successor. Biden also did not reportedly discuss Riyadh’s extreme persecution of non-Muslims, gay people, or women. Instead, most coverage has focused on Biden claiming to have mentioned the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor killed and butchered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
“I indicated I thought he was. He said he was not personally responsible for it and he took action against those who were responsible,” Biden told reporters following his meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, claiming he told the prince that he believed he had ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Bin Salman has stated that the killing was unsanctioned behavior by Saudi underlings and claimed all involved parties were arrested.
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told PBS this weekend that, while he attended the meeting where this conversation allegedly happened, he “didn’t hear that exchange.”
“He brought — he mentioned the issue of Jamal Khashoggi, and he said that this is an issue that has generated a lot of interest and concern in the U.S. Congress and among the American public,” al-Jubeir explained. “And that he understood — he knew what some of your best position was, and the Crown Prince indicated that Saudi, we did every civilized country would do, we investigated, we charged against those who committed this crime.”
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