U.S.-China relations get off to a rocky start during Biden administration

U.S. and Chinese officials exchanged insults at each other in Alaska Thursday. In his opening remarks, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he has “deep concerns with actions by China.” And Yang Jiechi fired back, criticizing the U.S.’s state…

U.S.-China relations get off to a rocky start during Biden administration

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U.S. and Chinese officials exchanged insults at each other in Alaska Thursday. In his opening remarks, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he has “deep concerns with actions by China.” And Yang Jiechi fired back, criticizing the U.S.’s state of democracy and domestic racial tensions. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi

Talks between the U.S. and China got off to a rough start on Thursday, with both sides chiding and reprimanding each other in an unusual public display of tensions.

The meeting in Anchorage, Alaska was the first high-level meeting between the two countries under the administration of President Joe Biden, and came after more than two years of rocky relations between the two countries.

What was initially meant to be a four-minute photo shoot ended up lasting more than an hour as both sides traded barbs on issues from U.S.-China relations to concerns from Washington’s allies. Reporters were told not to leave as both sides wanted to add their rebuttals.

Leading the U.S. delegation were Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan. Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party, led the Chinese delegation.

Here are some excerpts and highlights from the meeting:

On U.S.-China relations

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken:
I said that the United States relationship with China will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be. Our discussions here in Alaska, I suspect, will run the gamut. Our intent is to be direct about our concerns, direct about our priorities, with the goal of a more clear-eyed relationship between our countries moving forward.

… I have to tell you in my short time as secretary of State, I’ve spoken to I think nearly a hundred counterparts from around the world. And I just made my first trip, as I noted, to Japan and South Korea. I have to tell you what I’m hearing is very different from what you described. I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners. I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi:
China certainly in the past has not and in the future will not accept the unwarranted accusations from the U.S. side. In the past several years, China’s legitimate rights and interests have come under outright suppression, plunging the China-U.S. relationship into a period of unprecedented difficulty.

… China urges the U.S. side to fully abandon the hegemony practice of willfully interfering in China’s internal affairs. This has been a longstanding issue and it should be changed. It is time for it to change.

Chinese Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, Yang Jiechi
China and the United States are both major countries, and both show the important responsibilities. We must both contribute to the peace, stability and the development of the world, in areas such as Covid-19, restoring economic activities in the world and responding to climate change.

There are many things that we can do together and where our interests converge. So what we need to do is to abandon the Cold War mentality and the zero-sum game approach.

… So let me say here that, in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength. The U.S. side was not even qualified to say such things even 20 years or 30 years back, because this is not the way to deal with the Chinese people. If the United States wants to deal properly with the Chinese side, then let’s follow the necessary protocols and do things the right way.

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