Anchorage (AP) – The top diplomats of the US and China superpowers have made serious allegations against each other. The first meeting of the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with his Chinese colleague Yang Jiechi was intended to lay the foundation for the new relationship between Washington and Beijing.
It started in a somewhat diplomatic tone: “The relationship between the United States and China will be competitive if necessary, cooperative if possible, and hostile if necessary,” Blinken said on Thursday (local time) in Anchorage, Alaska. . China’s actions threaten global stability, he warned.
China answered the accusing tone and firmly prohibited any interference in internal affairs, as video clips of the opening of the talks showed. “It’s important for our two countries that we get our affairs right instead of passing the blame on anyone else in the world,” said Yang, a translation said. “The fact is that there are many human rights problems in the United States,” he said, referring to last year’s Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police brutality.
Blinken, in turn, said the US was concerned about the human rights situation in the Hong Kong metropolis and Xinjiang province, home to the Uyghur ethnic minority. He also accused China of being responsible for cyber attacks and blackmailing US allies with economic pressure. He also criticized Beijing’s position on Taiwan, which claims the Communist People’s Republic is part of China.
“Each of these acts threatens the rules-based framework that maintains global stability. So these are not just internal matters, ”says Blinken. “The alternative to a rule-based order is a world where the power goes well and everything goes to the winner. That would be a much more violent and unstable world, ”warned Blinken.
The meeting in Alaska’s capital was attended by Blinken and Yang, the Communist Party’s top foreign politician, as well as Secretary of State Wang Yi, who is subordinate to the Chinese power apparatus, and Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The US government said it had pushed for the meeting to take place on US soil.
After the opening speeches, both parties continued to meet behind closed doors. Talks should continue until the evening and on Friday. The US government had stated that it did not hope for a concrete outcome, but rather for creating the basis for further cooperation with “open and honest discussion”.
Talks between the world’s two largest economies cannot be missed on other conflict-ridden topics. The US is also concerned about Beijing’s trade practices and China’s push to expand in the Indo-Pacific region. China, in turn, accuses the US of behaving like a global hegemony. Beijing is also calling for punitive tariffs imposed under ex-President Donald Trump to be lifted. On other issues of global importance, such as the fight against climate change, the two governments at least in principle want to cooperate. Both sides must also cooperate in international conflicts, such as those over Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs.
Blinken, along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, had coordinated with US allies in Japan and South Korea immediately in advance as part of a trip to Asia. Blinken also called on China to increase its influence on the neighboring country in its nuclear disarmament efforts in North Korea. China has “clear self-interest” in working towards the denuclearization of North Korea, Blinken said in Seoul on Thursday.
US-China relations had fallen to the worst level since diplomatic relations began under Trump in 1979. Biden is now on a less aggressive tone – but leave no doubt that China is seen as a rival. Biden’s government also wants to work more closely with democratic allies in Asia and Europe about 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 US government had just this week imposed new sanctions on 24 other politicians and officials from China and Hong Kong over the controversial Hong Kong election reform. The Beijing People’s Congress last week voted in favor of reform in China’s Special Administrative Region, in which Beijing is cracking down on the democracy movement. Critics say the new law would drastically reduce the influence of the opposition and strengthen the pro-Beijing camp.