China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, rolled out the red carpet for President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, lauding him as “an old friend of the Chinese people.” He sipped tea in a garden with President Emmanuel Macron of France, treating him to a performance of an ancient Chinese zither. And he talked on the phone with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, offering well wishes for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
But even as Xi has offered a glad hand to those and other world leaders in recent weeks, it has been only the cold shoulder for the United States. China has rebuffed attempts by the Biden administration to restart high-level talks and lower tensions over Taiwan. And Xi’s government has intensified a campaign of ridicule and criticism of the United States and Western democracy.