The Government of the President of the United States, Joe Biden , began its first official contact with China this Thursday in Anchorage (Alaska) , with a sour exchange of blurts between the representatives of both world powers.
The meeting was attended by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan; and on the Chinese side, the head of the Communist Party of China (CCP) for Foreign Affairs, Yang Jiechi, and the head of diplomacy, Wang Yi.
According to the press that accompanies the Americans, the tension began as soon as the meeting began , in front of journalists and television cameras who were only allowed access at the beginning.
Bliken began by stating that Washington is trying to repel Chinese practices, because “being strong is not the same as being right” and criticized Beijing for taking actions that “threaten the rule-based (world) order, which maintains global stability.” .
THE US CRITICIZES CHINA …
Likewise, the Foreign Minister advanced to his Chinese interlocutors his intention to speak about cyberattacks, the situation in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan. For his part, Sullivan assured that the US does not seek a conflict with China, but welcomes “competition.”
These statements seem to have been disliked by the Chinese representatives, as Yang responded harshly for 18 minutes to the Americans. “We do not believe in invasions with the use of force, the overthrow of other regimes and the massacres of people from other countries,” stressed the Chinese official, who said that it is important that the US change its image. “Many people in the US have little confidence in US democracy,” Yang said, according to the correspondent for the US public television network PBS.
… AND BEIJING STRIKES BACK
The Chinese official then spoke of cyberattacks to attack the Americans: “Whether it is because of the ability to launch cyberattacks or because of the technologies it can deploy, the United States is the champion (…) They cannot blame this problem on other”.
Before these words, Blinken responded defiantly that “it is never good to bet against the US”, to which Sullivan added referring to China: “a self-confident country is capable of carefully analyzing its own deficiencies and constantly seeking to improve.”
Later, an official of the US Administration, who requested anonymity, told reporters in Anchorage that, despite this initial disagreement, the US delegation will use what remains of the meeting to underline “in private” to the Chinese representatives the same messages that have been released “continuously” in public.
“The Chinese delegation, on the other hand, appears to have come with the intention of bragging, focused on making public theater and drama over substance,” the source was quoted as saying by CBS News. The official complained that the Chinese interlocutors “have made it clear that by quickly violating protocol, we had agreed to make short initial statements (of two minutes)”,
NOTHING IN PARTICULAR IS EXPECTED FROM THE MEETING
No joint agreement or statement is expected from this meeting , although both Bliken and Sullivan will make a statement at the end of the meeting, on which both parties have not even agreed on the type of meeting it is.
Asked if this meeting will precede subsequent ones, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at her daily press conference that US President Joe Biden will decide on the matter when speaking with Blinken and Sullivan upon their return.
The president “does not see this, and neither do they, as a pre-established series of meetings, like the traditional dialogues that we have seen with other administrations, including those in which he (Biden) has previously served,” said Psaki, before the start of the date in Alaska.
Psaki explained that there are several thorny issues on the table in Anchorage. “They plan to address areas that concern us, including human rights, Hong Kong,” he listed. “We have obviously introduced some sanctions related to anti-democratic actions in Hong Kong in the last couple of days.”
Precisely, on the eve of the meeting, Beijing protested the latest US sanctions against 24 Chinese officials for the electoral reform in Hong Kong , which for Washington has undermined the electoral system of the former British colony.
BLINKEN WARMED UP BEFORE THE MEETING
Before traveling to Alaska, Blinken already heated the atmosphere by criticizing China’s behavior . “We clearly see Beijing’s continued failure to meet its commitments, and we talk about how Beijing’s aggressive and authoritarian behavior is challenging stability, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” the US Foreign Minister said in statements in South Korea before boarding the plane that has taken him to Anchorage.
The Chinese were quick to respond. “There is no room for China to engage in matters related to sovereign security and fundamental interests, and its determination and willingness to safeguard its vital interests is unwavering,” Lijian replied.
Blinken has arrived in Alaska after visiting Japan and South Korea, US allies in Asia, on a trip in which he was accompanied by the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. During his stay in Tokyo, the US and Japanese governments issued a joint statement criticizing China’s treatment of the Uighur minority in the northwestern province of Xinjiang and its “destabilizing behavior” towards neighboring countries.
The deterioration of the US-China relationship accelerates
Relations between China and the US deteriorated dramatically during the era of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) with collisions in planes such as commercial , diplomatic or technological, and although Biden has promised another approach, his administration does not seem to have in a rush to put an end to its conflicts with Beijing altogether.