An old photo of China’s Xi Jinping circulated online as he met with Joe Biden in San Francisco.
It shows Xi, visibly younger, smiling with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
Discussion on Weibo have painted a more rosy reflection of America in light of Xi’s visit.
An old photo of Chinese leader Xi Jinping posing at the Golden Gate Bridge is now one of the most talked-about things on China’s social media.
The photo came to light on Wednesday as Xi and President Joe Biden met in San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
The faded photo shows Xi, visibly younger, smiling with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, Biden even showed Xi the picture on his cellphone.
Pointing to a photo in his phone with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, President Biden asked President Xi, “Do you know this young man?” “Oh yes,” said President Xi, “this was 38 years ago.”🌞 pic.twitter.com/r65Em6Z7oS
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) November 16, 2023
“Do you know this young man?” Biden asked Xi, according to Hua.
“Oh yes, this was 38 years ago,” Xi responded, per the spokesperson.
Interest in the photo dominated discussions of the APEC summit on Weibo, China’s heavily censored version of X, rising to the top topic on Thursday afternoon, Beijing time.
Weibo is heavily moderated, and topics positively covering Xi and his policies are often touted at No. 1.
The platform’s tone toward the US — which has grown increasingly hostile in recent years — seems to have pivoted to painting a more rosy reflection of America in light of Xi’s visit.
“I hope China-US relations will improve!” one top comment said.
“Hope for world peace,” another comment said
Xi stayed in Iowa in 1985 while serving on a foreign delegation from the Chinese province of Hebei. He was 31 at the time and was sent to observe farms in the US.
One of his stops was San Francisco, when the photo was likely taken.
During his current visit, Xi was also reunited with the Iowan farmers who hosted him in 1985.
Xi invited them to dinner on Wednesday, calling them “old friends.”
The relationship between the US and China has been front and center in San Francisco, where Xi arrived on Tuesday.
The summit is a meeting of the leaders of the 21 APEC member countries that span the Asia-Pacific. Members include the US, China, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea.
China and the US are currently out of step on a number of major issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But as Insider previously reported, US and Chinese officials are trying to find some common ground, including trying to reestablish military communications that were cut after a Chinese spy balloon passed over the US in February.
Some progress has been made during the talks: the two countries agreed on Wednesday to re-establish high-level military communication.
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