Xi jokes that he’d have forgotten his wife’s birthday if Biden hadn’t reminded him

US president and Xi Jinping spent four hours in ‘productive’ talks in California

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 16 November 2023 18:36 GMT
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Chinese President Xi Jinping joked that he would have forgotten his wife’s impending birthday if Joe Biden had not reminded him.

Mr Biden and Mr Xi spent four hours in talks in California on Wednesday during which Mr Biden pointed out that he and Peng Liyuan both share birthdays this month.

Ms Peng, a well-known soprano singer in China, will be 61 on 20 November, the same date as Mr Biden turns 81.

US officials at the summit outside San Francisco said that during their talks Mr Biden asked Mr Xi to pass on his birthday wishes to his wife.

“Xi said he was embarrassed, had been working so hard and had forgotten that his wife’s birthday was next week,” the official told reporters.

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping walk in the gardens at the Filoli Estate in Woodside, California
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping walk in the gardens at the Filoli Estate in Woodside, California (New York Times)

Mr Biden said at a Wednesday evening news conference that he thought the talks between the two leaders had been “productive.”

He told reporters that they had made progress on reinstating military-to-military communications, and China had agreed to help take on fentanyl producers.

Peng Liyuan visiting Ravenswood School for Girls in Sydney in 2014. The Chinese first lady is a well-known singer in her home country
Peng Liyuan visiting Ravenswood School for Girls in Sydney in 2014. The Chinese first lady is a well-known singer in her home country (Getty Images)

Mr Biden told reporters that he had a close relationship with Mr Xi going back decades. “I spent more time with President Xi than any world leader,” he said, recalling that the pair had both been vice presidents at the same time.

“So I think I know the man. I know his modus operandi,” he said.

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