Bolstered by allies, Biden officials take blunt message to first China talks
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States will take an uncompromising stance in talks with China on Thursday in Alaska, officials have said, in the first face-to-face meetings between senior officials from the two rivals since U.S. President Joe Biden took office.
Beijing has called for a reset to ties, now at their lowest in decades, but Washington has said the Alaska talks will be a one-off, and any future engagement depends on China improving its behaviour.
“We look forward to the opportunity to lay out in very clear terms to our Chinese counterparts some of the concerns that we have about the actions they’re taking,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday in Tokyo.
Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi in Alaska, fresh off of visits to allies Japan and South Korea aimed at emphasizing the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific in the face of Beijing’s rise.
In Tokyo on Tuesday, Blinken pledged to push back against Beijing’s “coercion and aggression,” including its expansive territorial claims in the East and South China Seas.
It was a measure of the bluntness that has come to mark the U.S. posture toward Beijing under Biden, as the world’s two largest economies search for a semblance of stable ground on which to base ties, after they sank under former President Donald Trump.