The Biden administration had a difficult first day in its meeting with communist China this week, when the U.S. and Chinese delegations met in Anchorage, Alaska. What was supposed to be a quick meet and greet turned into an hour-long affair as the Chinese humiliated Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his entourage.
The meeting, which was supposed to get the international adversaries talking about their mutual interests, and relations between China and the U.S. under President Joe Biden’s new administration, escalated into a debacle.
The United States was expected to raise issues involving China, like human rights and its military posturing in Asia, but the meeting quickly turned into a lecture from the Chinese delegation. Media critics expressed shock at the weak response from Blinken as China heavily criticized the United States for its lack of standing.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated severely with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and the summit was intended to repair bilateral ties and continue to stave off potential conflict between the U.S. and China in the Pacific.
Blinken began the meeting with a statement that the Biden administration was committed to a “rules-based international order,” warning that China’s aggression would turn the world into a “far more violent and unstable” place.
“We’ll also discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, and economic coercion toward our allies,” Blinken said. “Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan chimed in with concerns over China’s “economic and military coercion to assaults on basic values,” but added that he believed the communists “do not seek conflict, but we welcome stiff competition and we will always stand up for our principles, for our people, and for our friends.”
Representing the Chinese delegation were Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party.
Yang boasted about the dominance of the Chinese Communist Party on its own soil before launching a verbal attack on the United States, openly mocking Blinken’s comments about “rule-based international order.”
“What China and the international community follow or uphold is the United Nations-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, not what is advocated by a small number of countries of the so-called ‘rules-based’ international order,” he said.
The Chinese delegate also mocked “United States-style democracy,” claiming that “Chinese-style democracy” enabled the country to promote “peace and development of the world,” and accused the U.S. of imperialism “through use of force,” and by overthrowing “regimes through various means.” He also accused the U.S. of committing massacres worldwide.
Yang took aim at the ongoing civil strife in the U.S., stating that “many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States, and they have various views regarding the government of the United States,” citing the Black Lives Matter movement for its efforts in highlighting “many problems within the United States regarding human rights.”
The delegate openly made fun of the Biden administration, stating that it failed to “represent international public opinion,” or even that of the Western world.
“Whether judged by population scale or the trend of the world, the Western world does not represent the global public opinion,” Yang said. “So we hope that when talking about universal values or international public opinion on the part of the United States, we hope the U.S. side will think about whether it feels reassured in saying those things, because the U.S. does not represent the world. It only represents the Government of the United States.”
Wang, who spoke after his cohort Yang, said that China rejected accusations from the U.S. that had led to the Biden administration’s sanctions over its actions in Hong Kong. He added that the meeting “only reflects the vulnerability and weakness inside the United States.”
Rather than simply walking away from the meeting, Blinken responded to say that the country held a higher standing internationally than China and that many countries had actually complained to the U.S. about the communist country.
In response to China’s criticism of the ongoing protests and riots in the United States, Blinken failed to defend the United States and reiterated the Biden administration’s desire to “form a more perfect union” by “acknowledg[ing] our imperfections, acknowledg[ing] that we’re not perfect, we make mistakes, we have reversals, we take steps back.”
Instead of holding China accountable for its oppression of the Uyghurs, Sullivan chimed in with his own excuses, stating that the United States had a “secret sauce,” which is made up of its ability to “look hard at its own shortcomings and constantly seek to improve and that is the secret sauce of America.”
“The other secret sauce of America is that our people are a problem-solving people, and we believe we solve problems best when we work together with allies and partners around the world,” said Sullivan.