China’s head diplomat says US no longer able to “speak to China from a position of strength”

China’s most senior diplomat, Yang Jiechi, has said that the U.S is no longer able to “speak to China from a position of strength.”

The exchange took place in the first high-level talks between the Biden administration and China, being held in Alaska. The meeting in Alaska started with Secretary of State Antony Blinken laying out in his opening statement concerns over Chinese actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as well as recent cyber-attacks, stating that “Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability.” Then in a 15 minute speech Yang Jiechi accused the United States of hypocrisy on human rights and its treatment of minorities, and criticised U.S foreign intervention, saying that “We {China} do not believe in invading through the use of force, or to topple other regimes through various means, or to massacre the people of other countries, because all of those would only cause turmoil and instability in this world.”

He also accused American officials of having a “cold war mentality.” Yang then said that “The United States does not represent international public opinion and neither does the western world.” In an attempt to play good cop/bad cop after Yang’s harsh words, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan as “true friends of the Chinese people.” Following the meeting a senior administration official released a statement accusing China of breaking protocol, going beyond the two-minutes the speakers had been allotted at the top of the first session.

The official said that the U.S intended to “outline for the Chinese delegation in private the same messages we have consistently delivered in public.” The Chinese delegation, on the other hand, seems to have arrived intent on grandstanding, “focused on public theatrics and dramatics over substance.” The official added that such “exaggerated diplomatic presentations often are aimed at a domestic audience.” The Biden administration hasn’t been as aggressive towards China compared to that of the previous Trump administration which was quick to introduce sanctions and tariffs on China. Biden aims to deal with China competitively on both economic and diplomatic levels but also wants to work with China on common challenges, like climate change.





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