For nearly two decades, the CMC vice chairman has met with the U.S. president while traveling to the United States. The recent move ends that pattern, and comes amid rising tensions between the United States and the Chinese regime.
Fan began his trip on June 15, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) confirmed a test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile. The test was allegedly in response to the United States holding freedom of navigation exercises to challenge the CCP’s land-grab in the South China Sea.
According to the South China Morning Post, Fan is “at the forefront of talks over territorial claims in the South China Sea,” and is one of CCP leader Xi Jinping’s right-hand men.
Fan was expected to defend the CCP’s land-grab during his meeting with Obama, and Obama’s refusal to meet with Fan could signal that the administration is done playing dumb.
Fan is well adept in the art of propaganda. He has a history of dismissing Chinese aggression on the periphery, while promoting the Chinese regime’s interests.
In April 2014, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled to China for a week and met with Fan. At the time, relations between the United States and Japan were growing closer due to the Chinese regime’s increased aggression in the East China Sea.
Fan told Carter that during World War II, one of his uncles died as a slave in a Japanese mine. According to Reuters, Fan’s comments signaled “Beijing’s concerns that the United States was siding with Japan against China.”
Alongside Fan’s comments, the Chinese military fired a shot across the bow of a U.S. ship.
In September 2014, Fan told Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, that the United States should stop all close-in aerial and naval surveillance of China.
Fan said the United States should “decrease and even end close-in ship and aircraft surveillance of China,” according to The New York Times.
His comments in September 2014 came as images were first emerging that showed the Chinese regime building new islands in the South China Sea.