The Biden administration struggled during its first face-to-face meeting with communist China this week, which happened on U.S. soil, as the Chinese turned what was supposed to be an affair only lasting several minutes into a “public blowup” that lasted more than an hour.
The meeting was supposed to get both sides to the table to set the tone for relations between the two under President Joe Biden’s new Democrat administration. It was expected that the U.S. was going to bring up issues involving China, like human rights and its increasing aggression in numerous domains, but what was not expected was that China would mock the U.S. on U.S. soil. Many critics were stunned by the level of aggression that China showed to the U.S. and the weak response of the Biden administration.
As U.S.-Chinese relations have deteriorated as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China, the communist nation has been sending signals that it is preparing itself for a possible military conflict with the United States since last Spring and as recently as last week.
The meeting began with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that the Biden administration was committed to a “rules-based international order” and taking an apparent shot at China by warning that the alternative was “might makes right and winners take all,” which he said would make the world 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 adviser Jake Sullivan reiterated that the U.S. had “concern[s]” with China’s “economic and military coercion to assaults on basic values,” but said that they “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.”
China’s representatives at the meeting were Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party.
Yang touted the power that the Communist Party of China has in their country and highlighted what he claimed were Chinese achievements before immediately going on the attack against the U.S. Yang’s initial attacks on the U.S. included:
- Yang openly mocked Blinken’s comments about “‘rules-based’ international order.” Yang said, “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.”
- Yang openly mocked the “United States-style democracy,” saying that the “Chinese-style democracy,” which does not truly exist, had contributed to “peace and development of the world” while he accused the U.S. of “invading” other nations “through use of force” and toppling “regimes through various means” and massacring “people of other countries.”
- Yang exploited political divisions in the U.S., saying “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.”
- Yang also cited the Black Lives Matter movement to attack the U.S. on the issue of human rights, saying that there were “many problems within the United States regarding human rights.”
- “On cyber attacks, let me say that whether it’s the ability to launch cyber attacks or the technologies that could be deployed, the United States is the champion in this regard,” Yang said. “You can’t blame this problem on somebody else.”
- Yang openly mocked the U.S. and the Biden administration, saying that it did not “represent international public opinion” and neither does 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 spoke after Yang, saying that China “will not accept the unwarranted accusations from the U.S. side” and expressed anger at the Biden administration’s recent sanctions regarding Hong Kong. Wang said that the way the Biden administration approached the meeting “only reflects the vulnerability and weakness inside the United States.”
Blinken responded by saying that he has meet with “nearly a hundred counterparts from around the world” and said that they stood aligned more with the U.S. than China and actually had complaints about China. Instead of going back on the attack against China, Blinken sought to offer explanations to China, saying that the U.S. seeks to “form a more perfect union” at home which means “acknowledg[ing] our imperfections, acknowledg[ing] that we’re not perfect, we make mistakes, we have reversals, we take steps back.”
Sullivan responded by making claims about “the secret sauce of America,” a term he repeatedly used as he also sought to offer explanations to China. “A confident country is able to look hard at its own shortcomings and constantly seek to improve and that is the secret sauce of America,” Sullivan said. “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.”
Sullivan then pivoted from responding to China’s attacks to saying the U.S. had just landed another rover on Mars.
Yang immediately fired back in an even more hostile manner, launching a new wave attacks on the U.S.:
- “Well, it was my bad. When I entered this room, I should have reminded the U.S. side of paying attention to its tone in our respective opening remarks, but I didn’t,” Yang said. “The Chinese side felt compelled to make this speech because of the tone of the U.S. side.”
- “So let me say here that, in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength,” Yang continued. “The U.S. side was not even qualified to say such things even 20 years or 30 years back, because this is not the way to deal with the Chinese people.”
According to the U.S. government’s transcript, Sullivan and Blinken did not respond to the attacks at the end made by China.