The United States and China flattened a sharp rebuke from their respective policies in the first high-level talks in Alaska with Biden administration on Thursday, with the relationship between two global rivals, which were tense on rare public display during the opening session of the meeting in Alaska.
Washington, which quickly accused Beijing of violating the meeting’s protocol, had been seeking changes in China’s behavior, itself having expressed earlier this year hopes for resetting bilateral relations. On the night of the talks, Beijing had arranged a controversial meeting, with its ambassador to Washington saying that the United States was full of illusions if Chinese thinking would compromise.
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Sparring in front of the camera, US Secretary Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan opened their meeting with the highest Chinese diplomat and members of the State Council of Wang Yi in Anchorage, fresh off his visits for Japanese and South Korean allies.
“We will … discuss our deep worries with action by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, a cyber-attack in the United States, our allied economic coercion,” Blinken said in blunt public comments. “Each of these actions threatens rule-based orders that maintain global stability,” he said.
Yang responded with a 15-minute speech in Chinese while the American side was waiting for the translation, hitting what he said was America’s struggling Democratic values, the treatment of poor minority, and criticized foreign policy and its trade. “The United States uses military power and financial hegemony to carry out long-sleeved jurisdictions and suppress other countries,” said Yang.
Surprised by the statement, Blinken held a journalist in the room so he could respond. Sullivan said the United States did not seek conflict with China but would defend the principles and friends. He tied up the success of Mars Rover’s landing this year and said the United States’ promise was in his ability to continue to rediscover himself.
What is usually a few minutes from the opening comments in front of journalists for such high-level meetings lasted for more than one hour, and two delegates tussled on when the media would be escorted out of the room. Following the exchange, a senior administration official said China immediately violated the agreed protocol, two minutes from each principal’s opening statement.
“The Chinese delegation … seems to have arrived a big intention, focusing on the theater and public dramatics for the substance,” the official told reporters in Alaska. The United States will continue the meeting according to the plan, the official said, adding that “excessive diplomatic presentations are often intended for domestic audiences.”
Before serving, President Joe Biden had been attacked by the Republican Party, who was worried that his government would take an overly soft approach with China. But in recent weeks, the top Republican Party has given the nod to revitalize relations with allies gently. To deal with China’s strategy, a shift from former President Donald Trump’s go-it-own.
While many China Biden policies are still formulated, including how to deal with tariffs on Chinese goods applied under Trump, their government has so far placed a stronger emphasis on democratic values and allegations of human rights violations by China. Michael Mccaul, Senior Republic in the DPR Foreign Affairs Committee, said the behavior that showed China had no plans to change the way.
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