When President Donald Trump suggested — without prompting — that China should investigate Joe Biden and his son, he thrust another political grudge into what was already the world's most complicated and consequential relationship. The move startled Chinese officials, who say they have little interest in becoming embroiled in a US political controversy. And it amounted to the latest extraordinary effort by Trump to openly request political assistance from foreign governments.
Thursday's comments weren't the first time Trump has injected Biden into his relationship with China, though he said Thursday he has never pushed Xi to investigate the former vice president. Nor is it the first time he has sought to trade favors with Xi, who this week celebrated the 70th birthday of his communist state with a note of congratulations from Trump.