Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, came face to face in the first high-level meeting since Joe Biden became President of the United States.
With a harsh exchange of criticism between the two representatives, the United States maintained the stance of the Trump administration, while China lashed out against American institutions.
Blinken focused his speech on the “deep concerns with China’s actions, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks against the United States, economic coercion of our allies.”
For its part, the Chinese delegation called American democracy and the American legal system a “fragile” system, and brought up the argument of “police brutality and systemic racism that led to mass protests in the United States.”
Yi reiterated Beijing’s accusations against Washington for “using its military force and financial hegemony to exercise long-arm jurisdiction and repress other countries” (“long arm” is the CCP’s term for American actions in Asia).
Far from establishing harmonious relations, the first diplomatic meeting showed the determined Chinese policy of not accepting human rights violations and the need for a strong institutional framework with forceful policies on the part of the United States.
CCP against democratic values and liberal institutions
Xi Jinping has toughened domestic policies by entrenching the power of the CCP. The economy, the press and society must respond to the leader’s hardline nationalist plan, focused on strengthening the Asian giant.
China’s international relations respond to Jinping’s plan. With an assertive approach, Beijing hopes to dominate in Asia and other key regions, such as Latin America and Africa.
China’s foreign policy vis-à-vis the United States aims to attack the international reputation of American institutions. On the one hand, it dismisses American human rights investigations and actions; on the other, it delegitimizes America’s own democratic and liberal values and those of its allies.
The experienced and veteran diplomat Yang Jiechi, former ambassador to America, close to the Bush family and who was in charge of foreign relations during Hu Jintao’s presidency, said, “Many people in America actually have little confidence in U.S. democracy”.
“We in China believe it is important for the United States to change its own image and stop promoting its own democracy to the rest of the world,” Yang added.
Wang Yi attacked the sanctions against China issued on March 17, 2021 for the crackdown on democratic leaders related to Hong Kong. Yi called them a “blatant interference in China’s internal affairs.”
The CCP representative said the actions taken by Washington in the face of the Hong Kong crackdown seek advantages against China, and affirmed that this “will not affect China’s legitimate position, nor the Chinese people’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty and dignity.”
The Chinese delegation wants to show a positive result in its favor after the meeting in Alaska, echoing Wang Yi’s statements where, according to the diplomat, America “exposed its internal weakness and vulnerability.”
The CCP-friendly media considered that the United States behaved undiplomatically with the communist delegation: “It is not at all hospitable, nor does it conform to diplomatic etiquette, to which China solemnly responded.”
The need for strong institutions against the advance of the CCP
The first diplomatic meeting between these two delegations evidenced China’s determined policy against democratic values and human rights.
The Chinese delegation did not respond to or accept any of the questions requested by Blinken and his team. Instead, it attacked the American policy driven from the Trump administration and the lack of a forceful policy from the Biden administration.
In addition, the attack on Capitol Hill in early 2021 and former President Trump’s conflict in the wake of the 2020 election have fueled Beijing’s narrative against the United States. However, China still recognizes American hegemony and understands that democratic values in Asia are an obstacle to CCP interests.