They had promised to tell each other everything, and the promise was kept: the United States and China spread irreconcilable disagreements in Alaska on Thursday in the first face-to-face of the Biden era, featuring a confrontation without thank you between the two leading world powers. An episode that occurs less than 24 hours after the verbal clash with Vladimir Poutine, described as a “killer” by Joe Biden.
“We will discuss our deep concerns about China’s actions in Xinjiang,” where Washington accuses Beijing of “genocide” against Uyghur Muslims, “of Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyberattacks against the United States and economic coercion against our allies ”, immediately stated the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to his interlocutors.
“Each of these acts threatens the rules-based order that guarantees global stability,” he accused. “That’s why it’s not just domestic issues. “
“Cold war mentality”
The Chinese response has been equally scathing. “China is firmly opposed to US interference in China’s internal affairs,” “and we will take firm action in response,” warned Communist Party of China top diplomacy official Yang Jiechi.
At his side, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi denounced the latest US sanctions, announced on the eve of this meeting against Beijing’s takeover of Hong Kong. “This is not how you welcome your guests,” he protested.
The White House adviser for national security Jake Sullivan thus assured that the United States did not want a “conflict” with China but was “open to stiff competition”. Yang Jiechi called on him to “abandon the Cold War mentality”, also claiming to want “neither confrontation nor conflict”. But visibly stung by the American accusations, he reproached the United States at length for wanting to “impose their own democracy on the rest of the world”.
“What I hear is very different from what you describe”, resumed Antony Blinken, leaving the protocol yet millimeter of the meeting to have the last word. “I hear deep satisfaction over the return of the United States to our allies and partners, but I also hear deep concerns about certain actions of your government. “
“Litany of disagreements”
A senior American official in Anchorage, Alaska, where the meeting is being held, for his part accused the Chinese foreign ministers of having shown “demagoguery” and of having “favored theatrical staging over debates. background “.
For Bonnie Glaser, of the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, the two camps will now “seek possible common ground” and “see if they can manage, or even reduce, their differences”. No more: “a reset relations is not on the agenda, “she told AFP about a possible” reset “to get out of the most serious crisis between Communist China and the United States since their mutual recognition from the 1970s.
The Biden administration says it relies in this competition on the alliances of the United States abandoned by Donald Trump. Purposely, the meeting of Anchorage comes after the return of a visit by Antony Blinken to Japan and South Korea, two key allies where he warned the Asian giant against any attempt at “coercion” and of “destabilization” of the region.
In recent days, the Americans had listed the angry subjects, including human rights violations, the “militarization” of the South China Sea, the “theft of intellectual property”, the lack of transparency on the origin of the Covid-19… “A long litany of disagreements,” as US diplomacy spokesman Ned Price said.
But “it is unlikely that China will change its attitude on even one of the subjects that matter to the United States,” Elizabeth Economy, researcher at the Hoover Institution at California University, told AFP. from Stanford. “We are in a situation where the values and the vision of the world to come are poles apart. “