The first high-level diplomacy talks between the Biden administration and Chinese government kicked off with an abrasive exchange, as the world powers seek to ease tense relations, according to the Wall Street Journal.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tallied off Washington’s problems with China during the start of Thursday’s talks, reportedly citing cyberattacks, the Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan.
Bejing’s actions “threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken said, according to the Journal.
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Communist Party’s ruling body, reportedly fired back at the US, saying it has a problem with racism and should not impose its ideals on the rest of the world.
The US’s top diplomat reportedly conceded that the country “is not perfect,” but added the US deals with its problems in the open.
As reporters started to leave the Anchorage summit, Yang called for them to wait while he waved his finger and protested the remarks, which he called condescending, the Journal reported.
Blinken traveled to Japan and South Korea this week along with defense officials to bring attention to the strength of the US’s Asian alliances in response to North Korea’s nuclear agenda and China’s“ coercion and aggression” in the region, the newspaper said.
“A big part of the strategy is approaching our relationship with China from a place of
strength,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington on Thursday, according to the report.
Chinese officials reportedly plan to ask diplomats to reverse punitive policies enacted by the Trump administration. Both sides have lowered expectations for the event amid the tension, and officials have declined to release a joint statement or dine together due to coronavirus concerns.
The Beijing diplomats are hoping the Biden administration will be easier to deal with and more predictable than the previous government, which antagonized China over trade, technology, human rights, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even if we cannot work things out anytime soon, such exchange of views will help boost trust and dispel misgivings,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the Communist Party leadership’s second highest official, said last week, according to the paper.
The Biden White House has already rejected a Chinese proposal for recurring, annual
discussions between the governments on economic, security and other issues, with a senior official telling the Wall Street Journal the meetings are not the beginning of a “capital-D dialogue.”
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