• By The Financial District

TOUGH ALASKA TALKS SHOW U.S.-CHINA TIES WILL WORSEN

US and Chinese officials concluded on Friday (Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Manila) what Washington called “tough and direct” talks in Alaska, which laid bare the depth of tensions between the world’s two largest economies at the outset of the Biden administration, Humeyra Pamuk, David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina reported for Reuters.

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The two days of meetings, the first high-level in-person talks since President Joe Biden took office, wrapped up after a rare and fiery kick-off on Thursday when the two sides publicly skewered each other’s policies in front of TV cameras.


The talks appeared to yield no diplomatic breakthroughs - as expected - but the bitter rivalry on display suggested the two countries had little common ground to reset relations that have sunk to the lowest level in decades.


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The run-up to the discussions in Anchorage, which followed visits by US officials to allies Japan and South Korea, was marked by a flurry of moves by Washington that showed it was taking a firm stance, as well as by blunt talk from Beijing warning the US to discard illusions that it would compromise.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was not surprised that the US got a “defensive response” from China after it raised allegations of Chinese human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong as well as cyberattacks and pressure on Taiwan.


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“We expected to have tough and direct talks on a wide range of issues, and that’s exactly what we had,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters moments after the Chinese delegation left the hotel meeting room.


Members of China’s delegation left the hotel without speaking to reporters, but China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi later told China’s CGTN television network that the discussions had been constructive and beneficial, “but of course, there are still differences.” He added: “China will firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development.”



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