US and China talks off to contentious start in Alaska

Friday, March 19

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.

Beijing'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 issues 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.

The Beijing diplomats are hoping the Biden administration will be easier to deal with and more predictable than the previous Trump administration, 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.”

Newsday and Agencies