“The propaganda preparations for the Xi-Biden meeting this week are making it clear it is okay to like America and Americans again… I think you could make the argument the propaganda 180 makes Xi look like he is quite eager for a stabilised relationship because of at least economic if not also political pressures,” China analyst Bill Bishop wrote this week.
Mr Xi also appears equally, if not more, keen to woo the US business community.
The BBC understands he will be the guest of honour at a ritzy dinner on Wednesday night organised especially for him to meet top corporate executives. In what could be a sign of his true priorities, Chinese officials had initially demanded the dinner take place before Mr Xi’s meeting with Mr Biden, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
But the Americans should also not expect Mr Xi to be arriving hat in hand and eager to please.
Many believe mutual suspicion will endure and the two leaders will not likely remove existing trade and economic roadblocks put up in the name of national security.
Mr Biden has preserved many of the Trump-era sanctions aimed at China, while initiating and then deepening the chip tech ban. Meanwhile Mr Xi has enacted a wide-ranging anti-espionage law, which has seen raids conducted on foreign consulting firms and exit bans reportedly used on foreign nationals.
The two sides are also likely to not budge on “core interest” issues such as Taiwan and the South China Sea, where Beijing continues to build up its military presence to defend sovereignty while Washington does the same to reinforce its alliances in the region.
Faced with the need to “not appear weak” to the US, Dr Li says, “it’s a difficult balance that the Chinese leadership has to strike – between the objective of seeking a more stable and positive relationship with US on one hand, and also appear to be strong and resilient against some of the American pressures.”