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A senior Chinese official deemed U.S. policy toward the nation “deeply misguided” during the highest-level diplomatic meetings in China since President Biden took office.
Chinese vice foreign minister Xie Feng made the comments during a meeting with U.S. deputy secretary of state Wendy R. Sherman on Monday in Tianjin.
The Chinese–American relationship is “in a stalemate and faces serious difficulties,” Xie said according to a readout by the Chinese foreign ministry. According to Xie, this is because the U.S. treats China as an “imagined enemy.”
“The hope may be that by demonizing China, the U.S. could somehow shift domestic public discontent over political, economic and social issues and blame China for its own structural problems,” Xie said. “The Chinese people look at things with eyes wide open. . . . They see the competitive, collaborative and adversarial rhetoric as a thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China.”
The U.S. State Department said in a statement following the talks that the U.S. does not want “conflict” with China. The Biden administration entered the talks in an attempt to keep official lines of communication open, in order to keep competition between the two nations from spiraling into conflict, the Associated Press reported.
“The deputy secretary underscored that the United States welcomes the stiff competition between our countries — and that we intend to continue to strengthen our own competitive hand — but that we do not seek conflict with the PRC,” the statement said.
The talks in Taijin follow a tense meeting in Alaska earlier this year between Chinese Communist Party foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi and U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken. Blinken said at the time that China’s actions regarding Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan “threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability.”
Yang shot back that the U.S. should “stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” adding “many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.”