Last Thursday, Chinese officials met with their American counterparts in Anchorage, Alaska, for two days, and, by all accounts, the meeting was not friendly. The Biden administration called their first encounter with China“tough and direct” but one expert said it was far worse than that, claiming that from the Chinese perspective, it was the first shot fired in a cold war.
Anchorage Meeting: Rough All-Around
The meetings started out with Secretary of State Antony Blinken making general remarks. After what seemed to be a fairly generic and mild speech, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi lashed out. In remarks that were supposed to last two minutes, Yang spoke for 16, criticizing the United States’ struggling democracy, poor treatment of minorities, and criticizing its foreign and trade policies.
“The United States uses its military force and financial hegemony to carry out long-arm jurisdiction and suppress other countries,” said Yang. “We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.”
“It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China,” he added.
“We expected to have tough and direct talks on a wide range of issues, and that’s exactly what we had,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters. The Chinese officials did not address the Western media.
One of the points of contention is the issue of grave humanitarian offenses targeting Uyghur Muslims. But the Biden administration must also address humanitarian offenses against Tibet and Hong Kong, cyberattacks, and intellectual property theft carried out by the government and Chinese companies. In addition, many hold China responsible for the pandemic which began in its borders.
‘“On economics, on trade, on technology, we told our counterparts that we are reviewing these issues with close consultation with Congress, with our allies and partners, and we will move forward on them in a way that totally protects and advances the interests of our workers and our businesses,” Blinken told the press.
The rough beginning comes as no surprise as Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “thug” during his election campaign, saying that his administration must stand up to China or they would “eat our lunch.”
Gatestone: It is War
The Gatestone Institute, a right-wing think tank, suggested that the talks were perhaps the first shots fired in a newly developing cold war. Their assessment focused on statements made by Zhao Lijian of China’s foreign ministry, who told the Chinese press there was a “strong smell of gunpowder” in the aftermath.
“‘Gunpowder’ is one of those words Beijing uses when it wants others to know war is on its mind,” Gordon G. Chang of Gatestone wrote.
“The term is, more worryingly, also especially emotion-packed, a word Chinese propagandists use when they want to rile mainland Chinese audiences by reminding them of foreign — British and white — exploitation of China in the Opium War period of the 19th century,” Chang explained. “China’s Communist Party, therefore, is now trying to whip up nationalist sentiment, rallying the Chinese people, perhaps readying them for war.”
“More fundamentally, Beijing is, with the gunpowder reference and others, trying to divide the world along racial lines and form a global anti-white coalition.”
According to Chang, Yang Jiechi claimed his 16-minute tirade was instigated by the two American delegates overrunning their allotted four minutes by 44 seconds. Chang also noted that Yang’s remarks were read from prepared scripts, implying that his tirade was planned in advance and did not come as a reaction.
The conflict was reported in the official Chinese media as being race-based, described in terms taken from the far-left in the US.
“Everything Washington talks about is centered on the U.S., and on white supremacy,” the Global Times, controlled by the Party, stated in an editorial on March 19.
Yang actually referred to the Black Lives Matter movement in his opening remarks, citing BLM as a sign that there are deeply troubling social issues in the US that need to be resolved.
Chang, an expert on matters relating to China, warned that the current president of China, Xi Jinping, believes that now is the time for his country to express its dominance as he believes the US is in “terminal decline.”
“In a landmark speech he gave at the end of last year, he stated the East is rising and the West is declining,” Chang wrote, suggesting that the cold war could turn hot at any moment., “Xi is serious. In January, he told his fast-expanding military it must be ready to fight “at any second.”
“Militant states rarely prepare for conflict and then back down,” Chang concluded. “For China’s Communist Party, there is a smell of gunpowder around the world, as Xi is triggering a clash of civilizations — and races.”