Beijing condemns US after tense talks in Alaska – ‘Strong smell of gunpowder’

Antony Blinken confronts China officials at US summit

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The talks took place in Alaska on Thursday, with senior officials face-to-face to discuss foreign policy and tensions in the South China Sea. Speaking in Beijing, Zhao Lijian, a Foregin Ministry spokesman criticised the US for provoking Chinese officials.

Mr Zhao called out US officials for gravely exceeding the agreed time limit for opening remarks, breaking diplomatic protocol and prompting a “solemn response” from Beijing.

Beijing also felt the US “wantonly attacked and criticized” China’s domestic and foreign policies which further stoked tensions.

He said: “It was the US side that…provoked the dispute in the first place, so the two sides had a strong smell of gunpowder and drama from the beginning in the opening remarks.

“It was not the original intention of the Chinese side.”

The Anchorage meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi is the first face-to-face meeting between the countries’ diplomats under the Biden administration.

The meeting followed the US imposing sanctions on China following Beijing’s crackdown on political freedoms in Hong Kong.

Mr Zhao added: “It is because the US side failed to keep to the set time limit and provoked disagreements first that the opening statements were fiery and theatrical, which is not what China wishes to see.”

During the meeting, Mr Blinken restated the US commitment to pushing back against China’s expansions plans.

Mr Blinken also stated that China’s actions threatened to upset global stability and was obligated to raise the issue publicly.

He said: “Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability.

“Our intent is to be direct about our concerns, direct about our priorities, with the goal of a more clear-eyed relationship between our countries moving forward.”

Despite the accusations, Mr Zhao said China is committed to expanding cooperation with the US in what he called “an important step.”

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“By agreeing to hold this high-level strategic dialogue with the US, China is taking an important step in acting on the spirit of our heads of state’s telephone conversation,” Mr Zhao said.

“People in both countries and beyond all hope to see practical outcomes from this dialogue.”

The meeting is set to continue on Friday and will continue discussions over human rights, trade and tensions in the South China Sea.

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