Xi-Biden summit: who were the key players at the talks?
- Chinese and US leaders have held their first virtual meeting, aiming to manage conflict and improve communication
- With a wide range of issues on the table, here’s a look at the two sides’ delegations
United States delegation
Antony Blinken, secretary of state
Blinken is a long-time foreign policy adviser to Biden. He was Biden’s top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and national security adviser from 2009 to 2013, when Biden was vice-president.
Yang hit back, saying China would not accept unwarranted accusations from the US. “Let me say here that in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength,” Yang said at the time.
Janet Yellen, secretary of the Treasury
Yellen also said tariffs on Chinese imports – imposed by the previous Trump administration – tended to raise domestic prices.
Gloves off at top-level US-China summit in Alaska with on-camera sparring
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser
Sullivan is the top US national security official and a top adviser to Biden. He served in the Obama administration as national security adviser to then vice-president Biden and was director of policy planning at the Department of State, as well as deputy chief of staff to then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, NSC
Campbell, an Obama administration veteran, has taken up a new role at the National Security Council as Biden’s point man on China and Asia policy, as well as being his deputy assistant.
Last month, Campbell said Biden was committed to avoiding confrontation with China, and it was crucial for the two powers to work on building confidence.
Laura Rosenberger, special assistant to the president and senior director for China, NSC
Rosenberger was an adviser on foreign policy to another former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, during her 2016 presidential run before heading the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an initiative founded within the German Marshall Fund in 2017 to deter interference in US politics. Rosenberger initially focused on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Jon Czin, director for China, NSC
Czin is a new face at senior level China-US talks. In September, he met Hong Kong political activist Nathan Law Kwun-chung in Washington. Law said he and other Hong Kong political activists had heard from Czin about Washington’s measures to protect Hongkongers, including expediting temporary work permits. Law said he also called on the US to sanction more companies in Hong Kong that “assist the Chinese Communist Party in suppressing human rights”.
Ding Xuexiang, director of the General Office of the Communist Party Central Committee
Ding is Xi’s personal assistant and has worked as his aide for more than a decade. He was also Xi’s secretary in the six months when Xi was Shanghai party boss in 2007.
After Xi was promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee, he transferred Ding to the General Office as deputy director.
Last year, Ding wrote in party mouthpiece People’s Daily that China was in need of a strong leadership “core” – a title that has been given to Xi – to deal with an increasingly unstable world. Ding also said that not all departments and local authorities were listening to Beijing wholeheartedly.
Liu He, vice-premier
Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs
Yang is China’s most senior foreign policy official. Head of the party’s foreign affairs office and a Politburo member, Yang is regarded as Xi’s most trusted foreign policy aide.
Wang Yi, state councillor and foreign minister
Wang has been China’s foreign minister since 2013 when he replaced Yang, who had been in the role since 2007. He was promoted to state councillor in 2018, meaning he is more senior than government ministers and has an elevated status in the nation’s decision-making structure.
Xie Feng, vice-minister of foreign affairs
Xie returned to Beijing from Hong Kong in January, where he had headed the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Xie has twice served in the Chinese mission in Washington, including a stint in the early 2000s under the ambassadorship of Yang.