Alaska summit: All-out clash between Washington and Beijing

The top diplomats of the two countries hold the first high-level meeting of the Biden era. For Blinken, China is a threat to global stability. Yang Jiechi replies saying the United States is inciting other countries to attack China. However, both sides can cooperate against global warming and the pandemic.

Washington (AsiaNews) – The US and Chinese delegations clashed at the start of the two-day bilateral summit that opened yesterday in Anchorage, Alaska. This is the first high-level meeting since the Biden administration took office in January.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan represented the United States. Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top diplomat Yang Jiechi represented the Chinese government.

The US State Department accused the Chinese of violating the protocol for speaking for far longer than the agreed-upon time. US officials later indicated that tensions between the two sides cooled down behind closed doors.

Yang and Wang slammed the United States, which they say incites other countries to attack China. Blinken and Sullivan criticised the Chinese for suppressing Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

US representatives also raised the issue of Beijing's threats to Taiwan, cyberattacks on the United States, and economic bullying against US allies.

According to Blinken, China's actions are a threat to the international legal order that guarantees global stability.

Sullivan added that the US does not want a conflict with China, but said that Washington will always fight "for our principles, for our people and for our allies."

The US envoys said their government is ready to join neighbouring countries to counter China's growing "authoritarianism" and its human rights abuses.

Yang responded saying that the United States is using its military power and financial supremacy to suppress other nations. He said Washington uses the concept of national security to block world trade.

On allegations of human rights violations, Yang said the US cannot teach China anything, given the "massacre" endured by Black Americans.

For Yang, American citizens then have less and less confidence in the “democracy" promoted by their rulers.

The Chinese arrived at the summit already irritated by Washington's decision, announced on Tuesday, to sanction 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials held responsible for persecuting pro-democracy activists in the former British colony.

The meeting confirms that when it comes to China, Joe Biden will keep to the hard-line of his predecessor Donald Trump.

However, unlike the previous US administration, Biden wants to put more emphasis on relations with allies, as evinced by the recent summit with Quad countries (Japan, India and Australia) and Blinken's trip to South Korea and Japan.

Relations between Washington and Beijing can only improve if the two sides find common ground on global issues, such as the fight against global warming and the pandemic.

Wang said in the past that his government was ready to reopen a "constructive dialogue."  nevertheless, according to several observers, and Blinken himself, without any tangible action, Chinese openness is in danger of appearing empty, a repeat of past situations.