S.Top diplomats from the governments of the United States and China have harshly criticized the politics of the other country during initial talks. In front of the cameras in Anchorage, Alaska, an intense exchange of blows between the representatives of the two countries took place on Thursday. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan as well as China’s top diplomats Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi were involved.
“We will discuss our deep concerns about the actions of China, including those in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as the cyberattacks on the United States and the economic coercion of our allies. Each of these actions threatens the rule-based order that maintains global stability, ”said Blinken. “The relationship between the United States and China will be competitive, if necessary, cooperative if possible, and hostile if need be,” said Blinken.
15 minutes of allegations in Chinese
Yang responded with a 15-minute speech in Chinese. “They abuse so-called national security terms to hinder normal trade and incite some countries to attack China,” said Yang.
“It is important for our two countries that we each conduct our affairs well instead of shifting the blame on someone else in the world,” Yang said, according to a translation. “The fact is that there are many human rights issues in the United States,” he said, citing last year’s Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police violence.
It is the first high-level meeting between the new American government and the Chinese communist leadership. The relationship between the heavyweights is overshadowed by numerous conflicts. Both sides must cooperate to solve global problems such as climate change.
The protocol “was violated”
The opening event in front of journalists, which usually only lasted a few minutes, lasted more than an hour. The two delegations argued, among other things, about when the media should be expelled from the room. A US government official told reporters that China had “violated” the agreed protocol, which required just two minutes of opening statements from each of the key players.
After the opening speeches, both sides continued to meet behind closed doors. The talks should continue into the evening and on Friday. The American government had declared that it was not hoping for a specific result, it was more about creating the basis for further cooperation with an “open and honest discussion”.
Focus on punitive tariffs and the urge to expand
The talks between the world’s two largest economies are unlikely to be lacking in other conflict-ridden topics. The United States is also concerned about Beijing’s trade practices and China’s urge to expand in the Indo-Pacific region. China, in turn, accuses Washington of acting like a global hegemon. Beijing is also calling for the punitive tariffs imposed under ex-President Donald Trump to be lifted. On other issues of global importance, such as combating climate change, the two governments want to work together at least in principle. Both sides must also cooperate in international conflicts such as those relating to the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.
Immediately beforehand, Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had coordinated with their allies in Japan and South Korea as part of a trip to Asia. Blinken also called on China to use its influence on the neighboring country to a greater extent in its efforts to nuclear disarmament in North Korea. China has “a clear self-interest” in working towards the denuclearization of North Korea, Blinken said in Seoul on Thursday.
Heavily burdened relationship
Relations between the United States and China under Trump had fallen to their worst level since diplomatic relations began in 1979. Biden is now on a less aggressive tone – but leaves no doubt that China is seen as a rival. Biden’s government also wants to coordinate more closely with democratic allies in Asia and Europe on China. In addition, Biden has announced that he will again campaign for the promotion of democracy and human rights in foreign policy around the world.
The American government had just this week imposed new sanctions on 24 other politicians and officials from China and Hong Kong because of the controversial Hong Kong electoral reform. The Beijing People’s Congress last week voted for the reform in the Chinese Special Administrative Region, in which Beijing is cracking down on the democracy movement. According to critics, the new law would further drastically reduce the influence of the opposition and instead strengthen the pro-Beijing camp.
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