The world leaders met in California this week amid heightened tensions between the two countries, including, among other issues, what some feared was the end of “panda diplomacy.”
SNL took inspiration from the meeting with its latest cold open, with Biden (played by Mikey Day) holding a press conference.
“Meeting was a total win. Sure, we made agreements about communications, fentanyl, climate change, but most importantly, got the thing America really needs right now. More pandas!” Day’s Biden says before taking questions from press.
“China relations broke off this past year partly because you called President Xi a dictator,” a reporter (Heidi Gardner) says.
Fake Biden replies, “That’s right.”
“But your summit last week saw remarkable strides in mending that relationship,” the fake reporter continues. “Would you like to completely undo your accomplishment by calling him a dictator again?”
“I would,” the fake president says, referring to the real President Biden calling the Chinese leader a “dictator” earlier this week.
After dodging a series of questions about the border crisis, and how old he is, the fake Biden brings out a “very important Chinese dignitary,” Bowen Yang dressed as a giant panda. Yang-as-the-panda corrects the “giant” moniker, saying he’s more “slim thick.”
“Truly, I’m honored to be here. But am I the only one who was surprised that the presidents of the two biggest economies in the world met and everyone’s just like, ‘What’s up with the pandas?’” Yang asks.
He continues, “I mean, I get it: I’m hot, I’m smart, I’m alluringly asexual. But there have to be bigger issues, right?”
The real President Xi called the creatures “envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples” earlier this week, signalling that he will send more pandas to the US after three at the Washington DC National Zoo left for China earlier this month.
The Associated Press reported that since their departure, only four pandas are left in the US.