APEC Summit Was a ‘Big Win’ for China’s Xi in Terms of Propaganda: DeSantis

Last week’s meeting between the two leaders was ‘a bust from Biden’s perspective’ but ‘a win for Xi,’ the Florida governor said.
APEC Summit Was a ‘Big Win’ for China’s Xi in Terms of Propaganda: DeSantis
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Florida Freedom Summit at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., on Nov. 4, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that last week’s meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping was “a big win” for Mr. Xi “in terms of the propaganda.”

“You had American business leaders paying $40,000 to be able to sit with him at dinner. [Mr. Xi] got a rousing ovation from a lot of American CEOs,” Mr. DeSantis said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Nov. 19. The Biden–Xi meeting was “already being played in China as an example of China basically being America’s equal on the world stage.”

President Biden, however, got nothing from the meeting with Mr. Xi in San Francisco, Mr. DeSantis said.

“It was a bust from Biden’s perspective,” he said.

Mr. DeSantis agreed with the president that Mr. Xi is a dictator, citing the regime’s human rights abuses in the far-western Xinjiang region, as well as in other parts across China, accusing Mr. Xi of “ruling the country with an iron fist.”

But the Florida governor criticized the Biden administration’s engagement with the Chinese communist regime despite China being the source of fentanyl precursors. Washington on Nov. 16 lifted trade restrictions placed on a Chinese police forensics science institute following the Biden–Xi meeting.

“They talk about cooperating for fentanyl, as if China doesn’t know the fentanyl is being sent to Mexico and into the United States,” Mr. DeSantis said. “Of course, they know. This is part of their national strategy to hurt this country.”

Drug cartels in Mexico are known to purchase precursor chemicals from China and synthesize fentanyl into pills before selling them on U.S. soil. American officials have repeatedly raised the fentanyl issue when they met with the regime’s officials this year, as fentanyl became a driver of nearly 70 percent of the record-high overdose deaths in 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded over 100,000 overdose deaths last year.
However, reports suggested Beijing had refused to hold talks on fentanyl unless Washington lifted sanctions on a Chinese police forensics science institute that the U.S. Commerce Department said in 2020 was “complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance” against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. The United States, as well as several other Western countries, have designated the regime’s actions against Uyghurs as “genocide.”
The White House didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Hard Stance on the CCP

Mr. DeSantis has been known as hawkish on communist China, repeatedly saying that the Chinese regime is the top geopolitical threat to the United States.
At an event hosted by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and The Epoch Times on Oct. 27, Mr. DeSantis said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has “grand ambitions” as Beijing “seeks to be the dominant power in the entire world and they are marshaling all their society to be able to achieve that objective.”

Mr. DeSantis warned that “this is a formidable threat, and it requires a whole-of-society approach.” He proposed that “the United States has to treat the threat posed by the CCP the same way we treated the threat posed by the Soviet Union.”

In July, Mr. DeSantis unveiled a 10-point economic policy plan to cut most trade ties with China. The top priority in his “Declaration of Economic Independence” policy would be to continue “strategically decoupling the American economy from China and the globalist elites that have been wreaking havoc on the American Dream.”

The GOP presidential candidate noted that the United States must “take back control of our economy from China” and end “an abusive, asymmetric relationship between our two countries” that only benefits the CCP and Western “elites” that have sold out workers and taxpayers.

In an interview with Fox News in July, Mr. DeSantis promised to revoke China’s trade status if he won the 2024 presidential race.

In Florida, Mr. DeSantis has taken steps to stop the CCP’s influence in the Sunshine State.

In May, the Florida governor signed legislation banning Chinese entities from buying properties in Florida. The law also prohibits citizens from a “foreign country of concern” from owning properties on or within 10 miles of military installations and other “critical infrastructure” in the state.

In 2021, Mr. DeSantis signed legislation banning Confucius Institutes on college campuses to counter the CCP’s influence in Florida. In May, he suspended school choice scholarships from four schools over their alleged ties to the CCP.

Also in May, Mr. DeSantis took action against TikTok by restricting students from using the Chinese app on district-owned devices. The law also prohibits anyone from using TikTok to promote school activities. The GOP candidate would also consider imposing a national ban on the Chinese video-sharing platform if elected president, he told The Wall Street Journal in July.
John Haughey contributed to this article.
Aaron Pan is a reporter covering China and U.S. news. He graduated with a master's degree in finance from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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