Antony Blinken confronts China officials at US summit
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Tensions flared as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken came face to face with his Chinese counterpart for the first time. At a summit in Alaska between the two nations, Mr Blinken reeled off a volley of accusations levelled at China’s behaviour on the international stage. He expressed concerns over China’s treatment of the Uighur population and accused the East Asian powerhouse of launching cyber attacks on the USA.
Speaking from the summit in Anchorage, Alaska, Mr Blinken did not hold back in his fierce critique of the East Asian powerhouse.
The Secretary of State said: “We will discuss our deep concerns with actions by China.”
He added that the talks will include a discussion of Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan.
Mr Blinken said the talks will also focus on “cyberattacks on the United States” as well as look into China’s “economic coercion toward our allies.”
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But China’s director of foreign affairs Yang Jiechi hit back in a scathing rebuttal of the Secretary of states accusations.
He denied such allegations put to him and immediately went on the defensive, accusing the US of being “un-diplomatic.”
He said: “Well, I think we thought too well of the United States.
“We thought that the US side would follow the necessary diplomatic protocols.”
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Following the exchange, a senior U.S. administration official said China had immediately “violated” agreed-to protocol, which was two minutes of opening remarks by each of the principals.
“The Chinese delegation … seems to have arrived intent on grandstanding, focused on public theatrics and dramatics over substance,” the official told reporters in Alaska.
The United States would continue with its meeting as planned, the official said, adding that “exaggerated diplomatic presentations often are aimed at a domestic audience.”
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Before taking office, Joe Biden had been attacked by Republicans who feared his administration would take a too soft an approach with China. But in recent weeks, top Republicans have given the president a gentle nod for revitalizing relations with U.S. allies in order to confront China, a shift from former President Donald Trump’s go-it-alone “America First” strategy.
While much of Biden’s China policy is still being formulated, including how to handle the tariffs on Chinese goods implemented under Trump, his administration has so far placed a stronger emphasis on democratic values and allegations of human rights abuses by China.
The summit in Alaska comes as China becomes increasingly hostile on the world stage.
The talks continue today and tomorrow as both nations discuss more issues.
China’s treatment of the Muslin Uighur minority has sparked widespread backlash from the international community.
They have also been heavily condemned for their actions in Hong Kong in preventing the democratic process from taking place and installing harsh policies.
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