March 18th marked the first day of the two-day US-China summit in Anchorage, Alaska. In Anchorage, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Chinese Communist Party Foreign Affairs operatives Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi met to develop diplomacy and an understanding of policy standpoints.
However, conversations turned confrontational when Secretary Blinken’s opening remarks went straight into expressing the United States’ “deep concerns” on Chinese actions in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjian (Uighur internment camp). Blinken also dogged China for economic coercion on American allies and cyber attacks.
“The US does not represent international public opinion,” Yang Jiechi fired back.
Blinken continued to refute the Chinese arguments, while NSA Adviser Jake Sullivan fought back with his definition of America’s “secret sauce:”
“A confident country is able to look hard at its own shortcomings, and constantly seek to improve,” he said.
Yang Jiechi took offense to Blinken’s remarks, warning the U.S. to watch its “tone” of speaking to China “in a condescending way.”
“The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.” He added.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented on the Chinese official’s heated exchange as “theatrics” for a domestic audience during the press briefing.
The heated exchange continued:
Yang Jiechi: “The US has American-style democracy and China has Chinese-style democracy. It is not just up to the US, but also the world to evaluate how the US has done in advancing its own democracy.”
He deflected the U.S. concern regarding China’s cyberattack, calling the U.S. “a champion” in cyberattacks.
Yang Jiechi insisted the U.S. stay out of China’s affairs, such as the Uighur internment camp issue, by pointing fingers toward Black Lives Matter, alleging that African Americans are being “slaughtered.”
- “We hope that the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights. And the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the US itself,” …” the challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter. It did not come up only recently.”
- Blinken responded by saying that the US acknowledges that it’s “not perfect” and wants “to confront those challenges openly, publicly, transparently.”