San Francisco (USA), Nov 15 (EFE) – The meeting between the presidents of the United States and China, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, has not been left to improvisation.
For months, both sides meticulously negotiated every aspect, from the angle from which Xi would be filmed to the view from the window of his vehicle as he drove through the streets of San Francisco, sources familiar with the planning of the event told EFE.
Even the location of the meeting, the first between the two leaders in a year, was kept secret until just hours before it was to take place. For days, the White House had only said that it would be in the San Francisco Bay Area, a large region that includes several urban areas, including San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley and the city of San Francisco.
The location chosen for the in-person meeting was the country mansion Filoli, located about 40 kilometers from San Francisco and best known for being one of the settings of the 1980s soap opera Dynasty.
The villa was chosen for its discretion: it is surrounded by about six hectares of gardens inspired by the English Renaissance, and these in turn are located in an estate of about 260 hectares, so as to guarantee privacy.
In this way, the two parties ensured that Biden and Xi could speak in peace, without having to see the demonstrators who have taken to the streets of San Francisco in recent days with slogans in defense of human rights in China, but also with other demands in favor of the defense of the environment or against the war in Gaza.
The Chinese side was particularly demanding in its requirements to ensure that Xi would not see these protests even as he drove around San Francisco, sources familiar with the planning of the event told EFE.
Instead of protesters, the only thing Xi is likely to see from his vehicle are the Chinese flags that popped up Wednesday morning on the fences surrounding the Moscone Convention Center, the site of the high-level week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in San Francisco that ends Friday.
The meeting could have been held at the convention center, where a number of ministers from the 21 APEC economies have already met this week.
But the bland rooms of the venue were not suitable for a meeting of this nature, where both leaders are seeking to bolster their image domestically and internationally, and to show the world that they can come face to face with one of their biggest adversaries.
All aspects of the summit have been the subject of debate, from the location of the meeting, to the agenda, to the menu of the working lunch the two leaders will share.
The White House did not disclose any details about the meal when asked about it on Wednesday.
Biden and Xi have a long-standing relationship, having met when they both served as vice presidents of their respective countries.
In 2011, when Xi seemed destined to become China’s next leader, Biden traveled to meet him, the two shared multiple dinners in different parts of China, and together they visited an institute affected by a 2008 earthquake.
Xi recalled that visit on Wednesday in remarks at the start of the meeting, saying, “I still remember our interactions very vividly, and it always gives me a lot of thoughts.” EFE