US and China trade angry words at high-level Alaska talks
US and Chinese officials have exchanged sharp rebukes in the first high-level talks between the Biden administration and China, taking place in Alaska.
Chinese officials accused the US of inciting countries “to attack China”, while the US said China had “arrived intent on grandstanding”.
Relations between the two superpowers are at their most strained for years.
The US pledged to raise contentious issues such as Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
The ill-tempered talks in Anchorage involved Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on the US side, facing off with China’s most senior foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, and foreign minister Wang Yi.
However, a US official said the subsequent talks behind closed doors had been “substantive, serious and direct” and ran over the planned two hours.
In a blunt opening statement before the talks in private, Mr Blinken said the US would “discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion of our allies”.
“Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” he said.
In response, Mr Yang accused Washington of using its military might and financial supremacy to suppress other countries.
“It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China,” he added.
Mr Yang said human rights in the US were at a low point, with black Americans being “slaughtered”.
Mr Sullivan hit back, saying Washington did not seek a conflict with China, but added: “We will always stand up for our principles for our people, and for our friends.”
The exchange, which took place in front of the world’s media, went on for more than an hour. It came at the start of three sessions, which are due to end on Friday morning.
It is the first high-level meeting between the US and China since last June – during the administration of the previous US President, Donald Trump.