søndag 26. juli 2020

US officials now call Xi Jinping ‘general secretary’ instead of China’s ‘president’ – but why?

Two years ago, during Mike Pompeo’s first months on the job as US secretary of state, his public mentions of Chinese President Xi Jinping were cordial. He was “honoured” to attend a working dinner with Xi in Buenos Aires; he thanked Xi for his role in “bringing North Korea to the negotiating table”; and he spoke gratefully of a “productive meeting with President Xi” during a visit to Beijing.

But today, with US-China relations in free fall, not only has the tone of Pompeo’s public statements regarding Xi soured considerably, his appellation of choice has also changed. To top US officials, most notably Pompeo, Xi is now no longer the “Chinese president”, but the “general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)”, a sign, say analysts, of efforts by the administration to delegitimise Xi’s rule, drive a wedge between party and populace and evoke loaded connotations with the Cold War-era.