A US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials in Tianjin, China, a week after the Biden administration joined an international coalition to condemn China for its global cyber attacks.
The State Department called the meetings “frank and open” – a diplomatic code for a skirmish – and described Beijing as an international outlier that subverts international standards, listing China’s genocide in Xinjiang and its refusal to cooperate with an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
The Deputy Secretary stressed that the United States welcomes the stiff competition between our countries – and that we intend to continue to strengthen our own competitive position – but that we are not seeking to come into conflict with China. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. On Monday.
Beijing, describing the talks as “thorough and frank,” responded with a torrent of condemnation. Chinese officials have expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with Washington’s “extremely dangerous Chinese policy” and accused it of human rights hypocrisy.
Chinese Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian spokesman said Chinese authorities “demand that the United States immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, stop harming China’s interests, and stop walking on the red line, stop playing on fire and stop orchestrating group confrontation under the guise of values. ”
The two countries are trying to gain an advantage as they struggle to manage the world’s most important bilateral relationship and set the stage for the first leaders meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping expected at the summit of the G7 in October. Despite the assertive language, both sides expressed interest in continuing the dialogue.
Sherman’s meetings in China followed a tour across Asia with stops in Japan, Korea and Mongolia, and took place as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Singapore and Secretary of State Antony Blinken was flying to India, reflecting the importance the Biden administration places on Asia. .
“The Deputy Secretary has expressed his concerns in private – as we have done in public – about a series of actions by the PRC that run counter to our values and interests and those of our allies and partners, and that undermine the rules-based international order, “Price said in a statement.
She voiced our human rights concerns, including Beijing’s undemocratic crackdown on Hong Kong; the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang; the abuses in Tibet; and the restriction of human rights. ‘media access and freedom of the press,’ Price continued. “She also expressed our concerns about Beijing’s conduct in cyberspace, across the Taiwan Strait and in the East and South China Seas.”
Sherman’s meeting came just days after China rejected the World Health Organization’s plan for a second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.
“The Deputy Secretary reiterated his concerns about the PRC’s reluctance to cooperate with the World Health Organization and allow a second phase investigation in the PRC into the origins of COVID-19,” Price said, adding that Sherman also raised the issue of Americans and Canadians detained in China. under exit bans and “reminded PRC officials that people are not currencies.”
A Chinese statement about Sherman’s first meeting with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said the vice minister told Sherman that the shabby US-China relationship was not due to any of the issues raised by Sherman, but to the American representation of China as “the imaginary enemy”. . ”
Many of Xie’s other comments appeared to be an attempt to overthrow American criticism of Beijing.
According to the statement, Xie also told Sherman that it was the United States that abandoned the rules-based international order that it helped create in the aftermath of World War II, but that China would like to build a “New type of international relations” built on “respect”.
Xie also said that the United States is “unable to lecture China on democracy and human rights,” highlighting the American genocide of Native Americans and the US military action and said that the United States is the “inventor and owner of patents and intellectual property” diplomacy – another criticism Washington has often leveled Beijing for its approach to smaller, poorer countries.
During the long day of talks on Monday, spokesman Zhao told a regular press briefing that China had expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with Washington’s “extremely dangerous Chinese policy”. .
But Zhao also added that the talks were “deep and frank,” and that they were beneficial for the healthy development of Sino-US relations.
And Price, the State Department spokesperson, said that while Sherman was critical of China’s actions, “at the same time, the Assistant Secretary affirmed the importance of cooperation in areas of interest. global, such as the climate crisis, the fight against narcotics, non-proliferation, and regional concerns, “including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Burma.