President Biden and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, meet Wednesday in San Francisco to discuss trade, Taiwan, and the war between Israel and Hamas.
Both leaders have been supportive of the recent visit by a delegation of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians to China. The musicians are in China to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the orchestra’s 1973 visit to Beijing, which made it the first American ensemble to perform in Communist-led China.
Mr. Biden stated in a recent letter to the orchestra that their visit could help strengthen cultural ties. Similarly, Mr. Xi praised the 1973 visit and emphasized the importance of music and culture in building bridges between countries.
Daniel R. Russel, a former senior American diplomat now at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said that cultural exchange could build connections between China and the United States and help dispel political stereotypes.
“It’s a very slender thread to use to knit together such a huge gash in the relationship,” he said.
On Friday, a dozen musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra joined musicians from the China National Symphony Orchestra for a concert at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, which received wide attention in China.
At the time, China was in the final years of the Cultural Revolution, during which most traditional music, including Western classical music, was banned.
The orchestra’s visit has been widely covered in Chinese state media, and it reflects the recent efforts of the Chinese government to emphasize personal ties and people-to-people exchanges to promote a positive global image.