Stop ‘demonising’ China
Rancour marked the start of yesterday's talks between Beijing and the highest-level US envoy to visit under President Joe Biden's administration, as Beijing urged Washington to stop "demonising" China while the US made a "forceful" case against China's human rights violations.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman's visit to the northern city of Tianjin is the first major meeting between the world's leading economies since March discussions in Anchorage between the countries' top diplomats collapsed into mudslinging.
The preamble to Sherman's trip said she aimed to seek "guardrails" as ties deteriorate on a range of issues from cybersecurity and tech supremacy to human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
But the tone was set early in the day in statements published by Beijing.
"The hope may be that by demonising China, the US could somehow... blame China for its own structural problems," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng told Sherman, in a readout issued by China's foreign ministry early yesterday.
"We urge the United States to change its highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy," the statement quoted Xie as saying, adding that Washington views China as an "imagined enemy". He claimed that Chinese people view the United States' "adversarial rhetoric as a thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China", in comments reminiscent of the fiery exchange between Washington and Beijing's top diplomats Antony Blinken and Yang Jiechi in Alaska in March.
Sherman tweeted yesterday that she "spoke about the United States' commitment to healthy competition, protecting human rights and democratic values" with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Sherman also had raised various concerns about China's violations of rights in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.