The first high-level U.S.-China meeting of the Biden administration started with a scorching discussion on Thursday, with both sides, leveling sharp rebukes of the others’ policies in a rare public display that underscored the level of bilateral tension.
“We will… discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion of our allies,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Chinese counterparts in a highly unusual extended back-and-forth in front of the cameras.
“Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” he said.
The Biden administration has made clear that it is looking for a change in behavior from China, which has expressed hope to reset relations between the world’s two largest economies that worsened dramatically under former President Donald Trump.
The response by the Chinese diplomat was a 15-minute long speech in Chinese by Yang Jiechi, while U.S. de;egates awaited the translation.
“The United States uses its military force and financial hegemony to carry out long-arm jurisdiction and suppress other countries. It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China,” Yang said.
The two sides, after the initial meeting, agreed to meet again on Thursday evening. A senior Biden administration official said that the first session was “substantive, serious, and direct,” running well beyond the two hours originally allotted.