Troubled US-China ties face new check at Alaska summit


Washington, March 18

The United States and China will face a new test in their increasingly troubled relations when top officials from both countries meet in Alaska.

Ties between the world’s two largest economies have been torn for years and the Biden administration has yet to signal if it’s ready or willing to back down on the hard-line stances taken under President Donald Trump. Nor has China signalled it’s prepared to ease the pressure it has brought to bear. Thus, the stage is set for a contentious first face-to-face meeting.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet China’s top two diplomats, State Councillor Wang Yi and Chinese Communist Party foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi in Anchorage, Alaska. Difficult discussions are anticipated over trade, human rights in Tibet, Hong Kong, China’s western Xinjiang region, Taiwan, Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, and the Covid pandemic. “This really is a one-off meeting,” said a senior administration official. “This is not the resumption of a particular dialogue mechanism or the beginning of a dialogue process.” The official briefed reporters ahead of the meeting on the condition of anonymity. Blinken will attend the meeting having just come from Japan and South Korea, where he and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin were promoting the Biden administration’s commitment to its treaty allies in Asia.

A day before the meeting, Blinken announced new sanctions on officials over China’s crackdown on pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong. In response, the Chinese stepped up their rhetoric opposing US interference in domestic affairs.

China slammed the US criticism of the move to give a pro-Beijing committee power to appoint more of Hong Kong’s lawmakers, which reduces the proportion of those directly elected and ensures that only those determined to be truly loyal to Beijing are allowed to run for office — shutting opposition figures out of political process. — AP

Contentious face-to-face meet

  • Ties between the world’s two largest economies have been torn for years and the Biden administration has yet to signal if it’s ready or willing to back down on the hard-line stances taken under Donald Trump. Nor has China signalled it’s prepared to ease the pressure it has brought to bear. Thus, the stage is set for a contentious first face-to-face meeting.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) and national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet China’s top two diplomats, State Councillor Wang Yi and foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi.



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