A US delegation led by the Deputy 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 cyberattacks.
The State Department called the meetings “frank and open” — diplomatic code for a skirmish — and painted Beijing as an international outlier that is subverting international norms, listing China’s genocide in Xinjiang and its refusal to cooperate with an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
“The Deputy Secretary underscored that the United States welcomes the stiff competition between our countries—and that we intend to continue to strengthen our own competitive hand—but that we do not seek conflict with” China, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement Monday.
Beijing, describing the talks as “in-depth and frank,” responded with a torrent of condemnation. Chinese officials expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with Washington’s “extremely dangerous China policy” and accused it of hypocrisy on human rights.
Chinese foreign minister spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Chinese officials “demanded that the US immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, stop harming China’s interests, and stop stepping on the red line, stop playing on the fire, and stop orchestrating group confrontation under the guise of values.”
Both 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 G7 summit in October. Despite the assertive language, both sides expressed an interest in continued dialogue.
Sherman’s meetings in China followed a tour through Asia with stops in Japan, Korea, and Mongolia, and came as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Singapore and Secretary of State Antony Blinken flew to India — all reflecting the importance the Biden administration is placing on Asia.
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