October 24, 2021

Top U.S., China diplomats have public spat as Alaska summit opens

Top U.S., China diplomats have public spat as Alaska summit opens

Top U.S., China diplomats have public spat as Alaska summit opens

By Abigail Williams and Dartunorro Clark
18 March 2021

Top diplomats from the U.S. and China had a public blowup in front of reporters Thursday as the two global powers met in Alaska to discuss policy and attempt to restore ties that have become increasingly strained in recent years.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was joined in Anchorage by Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, to meet with their Chinese counterparts, State Councilor Wang Yi and Chinese Communist Party foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi, for two days of talks in their first face-to-face meetings.

The atmosphere was expected to be tense because days earlier the U.S. had slapped sanctions on China for Beijing’s crackdown on political freedoms in Hong Kong. But the contentious on-camera exchanges that followed were a clear departure from the light pleasantries traditionally offered before diplomatic discussions.

Blinken opened his remarks by saying Beijing needed to return to a rules-based system, lambasting China for violating international norms through their crackdown on Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, cyber attacks against the U.S. and “economic coercion.”

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