Senior U.S. and Chinese foreign policy officials met in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday, the first face-to-face meeting between senior officials from both countries since President Biden took office. But the summit got finicky when China’s top diplomat criticized America’s “human rights”.
“We hope that the United States will do better on human rights,” said Yang Jiechi. “The point is, there are many human rights issues in the United States, which the United States itself admits. In the United States, human rights run deep, they haven’t just emerged in the past four years, like Black Lives Matter. “
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The hypocritical blow was not lost on US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who highlighted human rights violations committed by China in Hong Kong, Taiwan and against the Muslim Uyghur populations of Xinjiang.
“Each of these actions threatens the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken told Chinese officials. “This is why these are not just internal issues and why we feel compelled to raise these issues here today.”
China’s foreign affairs chief declared these issues to be “internal affairs” and condemned the United States’ harsh criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“China has made steady progress in the area of human rights,” Yang said in a surprisingly inconsistent manner to the international community’s attempts to pressure the CCP to quash its reported abuses.
Although the two countries were to discuss difficult issues such as the coronavirus pandemic and the geopolitical challenges that are testing the two countries, the controversial tone suggested that internal talks were not going smoothly.
Yang criticized the priority given by the United States to national security and alleged that this was the reason why the two nations encountered “unprecedented difficulties” in advancing their trade partnership, which “undermined to the interests of our two peoples ”.
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“We believe it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” China’s top diplomat said Thursday. “Many people in the United States have little faith in the democracy of the United States.”
But Blinken rebuffed the fiery remarks, saying his impression of countries neighboring China was in fact contrary to Yang’s position, following his recent trip to Japan and South Korea.
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“I hear deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we are re-engaged,” replied Blinken. “I also hear a deep concern about some of the measures taken by your government.”
The secretary of state rejected the attitudes of Chinese officials and accused them of “growing up” and prioritizing “substantive drama.”
The two nations will meet on Friday for another day of talks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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