ANCHORAGE: American and Chinese diplomats were to meet again Friday in Anchorage to discuss relations after a clash in opening statements that laid out the two superpowers’ competing views of the world and spelled a difficult period ahead.
The two sides lashed out at each other over human rights and geopolitical ambitions before television cameras in initial comments late Thursday, underscoring the challenge of easing the bilateral chill in the first meetings between the administrations of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden.
The US side, led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, accused China of behaviour that endangered global stability. China’s actions “threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken said at the opening of the two-day meeting.
Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, blasted back against Blinken’s “condescending” language, accusing him of setting up a show of strength for the cameras in the room.
“When I entered this room, I should have reminded the US side of paying attention to its tone in our respective opening remarks, but I didn’t,” said Yang, according to a US translation of his remarks in Chinese.
“Isn’t this the intention of United States .... that it wants to speak to China in a condescending way from a position of strength?”
Behind the opening bickering, both sides laid out a laundry list of alleged misbehaviour and provocative actions they accuse the other of. From China’s mistreatment of minority Uighurs, which Washington has labeled genocide, to US discrimination against African Americans, each said the other had no grounds to preach their versions of governance. And the Chinese side rejected Blinken’s claim that talks with “nearly a hundred counterparts” around the world showed that most appreciated the US global role and expressed “deep concern” over Beijing’s behaviour on the global stage.
“Between our two countries we’ve had confrontation in the past, and the result did not serve the United States well,” said Yang.
“What did the United States gain from that confrontation? I didn’t see any, and the only result was damages done to United States.”