The meetings in Anchorage were a new test in increasingly troubled relations between the two countries, which are at odds with a range of issues from trade to human rights in Tibet, Hong Kong and China’s western Xinjiang region, as well as over Taiwan, China’s security in the South China Sea and coronavirus pandemic.
“We received a defensive response,” said Foreign Minister Antony Blinken after the meetings ended.
“We wanted to share with us the key concerns we have over a number of the actions China has taken and behaviors that are of concern, shared by our allies and partners,” he said. “And we did. We also wanted to outline very clearly our own policies, priorities and worldview. And so did we. ”
In separate comments, Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Communist Party’s head of foreign affairs, said dialogue was the only way to resolve disagreements, but he also made it clear that Beijing did not intend to back any issue.
“China will protect our national sovereignty, security and our interests in developing China,” he said. “It’s an irreversible trend,” he said.
“We hope that the United States will not underestimate China’s willingness to defend its territory, protect its people and defend its just interests,” he said.
When they opened negotiations on Thursday, Blinken said the Biden administration is united with its allies in pushing back against Chinese authoritarianism. In response, Yang accused Washington of hypocrisy about human rights and other issues, many of which Blinken mentioned in his comments.
“Each of these actions threatens the rule-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken said of China’s actions. “That’s why they are not just internal affairs and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.”
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reinforced the criticism, saying China has carried out an “attack on fundamental values.”
“We are not looking for conflict, but we welcome tough competition,” he said.
Yang reacted angrily by demanding that the United States stop pushing its own version of democracy at a time when the United States itself has been shaken by domestic discontent. He also accused the United States of not dealing with its own human rights issues and questioned what he said was “downloading” from Blinken, Sullivan and other U.S. officials.
“We believe it is important for the United States to change its own image and stop promoting its own democracy in the rest of the world,” Yang said. “Many people in the United States have little faith in the democracy of the United States.”
“China will not accept unwarranted accusations from the United States,” he said, adding that recent developments had thrown relations “into a period of unprecedented difficulty” that “has harmed the interests of our two peoples.”
“There is no way to stifle China,” he said.
Blink pearled to be annoyed by the length and length of the comment, which continued for more than 15 minutes. He said his impressions of talking to world leaders and of his just-concluded trip to Jan and South Korea were quite different from the Chinese position.
“I hear deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we are re-incorporated,” Blinken replied. “I also hear deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”
Emphasizing the hostility and blasting the Foreign Ministry blamed the Chinese delegation for violating an agreed deadline of two minutes to open statements and suggested that it “seems (ed.) To have arrived on purpose for grandstanding, focused on public theaters and drama over substance. “
“America’s proach will be bound by confidence in our dealings with Beijing – as we do from a strong position – even though we have the humility to know that we are a country that is always striving to become a more perfect union,” it said. .
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian later spoke in Beijing, saying Blinken and Sullivan had provoked Chinese officials to give a “solemn response” after US officials made “baseless attacks” on China.
“It was the American side that … provoked the controversy in the first place, so the two sides had a strong smell of gunpowder and drama from the start in the introductory remarks. That was not the original intention of the Chinese side, “Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.
Ties between the United States and China have been torn for years, and the Biden administration has not yet signaled whether it is ready or willing to return from the tough stances taken under Donald Trump.
Just a day before the meeting, Blinken had announced new sanctions over Beijing’s violence against democratic advocates in Hong Kong. In response, China intensified its rhetoric against US interference in domestic affairs and complained directly about it.
“Is this a decision made by the United States to try to gain an advantage over China?” Asked Minister Wang Yi. “This is certainly misinterpreted and only reflects the vulnerability and weakness of the United States, and it will not shake China’s position or solve these problems.”
Trump had been proud to throw away what he saw as a strong relationship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. But the relationship disintegrated after the coronavirus pandemic spread from Wuhan province across the globe, triggering a public health and economic disaster.
Lee reported from Washington.