President Biden said Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should cancel her upcoming visit to Taiwan and that he plans to speak soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Biden, who faces questions about his family’s financial links to the Chinese government, said the Pentagon concurs with Beijing’s warnings that Pelosi (D-Calif.) should abandon her reported plans to tour the anti-communist island in August.
“The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” Biden told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland as he returned to Washington from a day-trip to Massachusetts to discuss global warming.
A Pelosi spokesperson declined to confirm or deny plans to travel to Taiwan, citing security protocols. The Pentagon referred requests for comment to the White House.
Biden told reporters that he plans to speak with Xi “in the next 10 days.”
The president didn’t say if he has decided on whether to eliminate former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, which Trump argued were needed to address unfair practices that disadvantaged US industries.
The White House says Biden may lift tariffs to fight soaring inflation and that Biden won’t consider the Chinese government’s refusal to be transparent about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed more than 1 million US residents, possibly due to a leak at a Wuhan lab.
The Biden family’s financial links to China have come under scrutiny by Republicans, who are vowing to make his role in at least two Chinese business deals a centerpiece of oversight efforts if they retake Congress next year.
Before the 2020 election, Joe Biden allegedly was involved with his son’s dealings with CEFC China Energy, which the Washington Post reported paid Hunter Biden and his uncle Jim Biden $4.8 million in 2017 and 2018.
Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski says that he spoke with Joe Biden in May 2017 about the Chinese venture and May 13, 2017, email recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop indicated that the “big guy” would get a 10 percent equity stake in a corporate entity established with CEFC.
Bobulinski alleges that the president was the “big guy.”
Emails show that in September 2017, Hunter Biden asked for a new sign and more keys to an office he was renting in DC’s House of Sweden office building. The sign was to say, “The Biden Foundation and Hudson West (CEFC-US)” and the keys were for his father, Jill and Jim Biden, and a Chinese executive named Gongwen Dong.
A spokeswoman for the agency that oversees the property said, however, that the sign was never changed and the keys were not picked up.
Also in China, Hunter Biden co-founded an investment firm called BHR Partners in 2013 less than two weeks after flying with his vice-president father to Beijing aboard Air Force Two and introducing Joe Biden to BHR CEO Jonathan Li in the lobby of a hotel.
BHR Partners is controlled in part by Chinese state-owned entities and facilitated the 2016 sale for $3.8 billion of a Congolese cobalt from a US company to the firm China Molybdenum. Cobalt is a key component in electric car batteries.
Hunter Biden’s attorney Chris Clark claimed less than a week after Joe Biden’s 3 1/2-hour November summit with Xi that the first son divested a 10 percent stake in BHR Partners. Hunter Biden and the White House provided no further details on who may have acquired his stake and for how much money.