April 20, 2021

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China-US dialogue must pave the way for follow-up contacts

US China Relations

The relationship between China and the United States affects the whole body. The two countries cannot coexist. The world will always be in a difficult situation. Confrontation cannot always be the main theme of the relationship between the two sides. (Reuters)

The Biden team is still reviewing its China policy.

U.S. Secretary of State Blincoln and President’s National Security Adviser Sullivan will meet in Anchorage, Alaska, with Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, to initiate dialogue on a series of issues. . This is the first face-to-face contact between senior officials of the two countries since US President Biden took office.

The Biden team is still reviewing its China policy, but Wang Yi has made it clear that he hopes that the United States will lift all kinds of unreasonable restrictions as soon as possible, stop artificially creating new obstacles, and work with China to promote Sino-U.S. relations to “say farewell to the old and welcome the new.” Therefore, Whether the talks will guide the future direction of Sino-US relations will attract attention.

The meeting was scheduled after Brinken and Secretary of Defense Austin visited Japan and South Korea, the important Asia-Pacific allies of the United States. After Biden participated in the first Quad Leaders Summit held on the 12th, the timing of the choice was thought-provoking. The United States will hold talks with allies in advance and win over allies to strengthen its resistance to China. Obviously, it is to strengthen the basis and strength of negotiations with China.

The four-party talks are believed to be aimed at strengthening the diplomatic influence of the United States in Asia and balancing China’s increasing economic and military influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Sullivan said after the four-party talks that the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia made it clear that they had no illusions about China, and that they basically set the tone for the first high-level contacts between China and the US.

The purpose of this high-level meeting between China and the United States is only to restart the dialogue. The format of the meeting may be more meaningful than the substance. The main purpose of the meeting is to provide opportunities for both sides to find out about each other. In any case, it is even more unrealistic to think that this dialogue will help reset Sino-US relations.

The spokesperson of the US State Department foretells that the talks between the two sides will be “difficult,” because high-level US officials have confirmed that Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea will be mentioned in the talks. Therefore, the high-level meeting between China and the United States cannot be as China hopes. The two sides have a candid dialogue on issues of common concern and accurately grasp each other’s policy intentions. Therefore, China is expected to hold high-profile talks and is eager to seek a breakthrough. How to express its position on specific issues in the dialogue is worthy of attention.

Since the Biden administration has not given up on the Trump administration’s attitude towards China, and has made it clear that it will take a tough stance against China, it is also seeking more effective competition. Brinken said in a speech that the United States is ready to confront China in necessary areas. “Compete when it is time to compete, cooperate when it can cooperate, and be hostile when it must be.”

Brinken said that this dialogue will not be like the strategic dialogues held in the past few years. In addition to exploring areas where cooperation can be made, the United States will also discuss the competitive aspects of the relationship between the two countries. The arrangement of the first meeting between China and the United States after the United States has met and negotiated with Asian and European partners and allies shows that the Biden administration will handle its relations with China in unison with its allies.

The last high-level face-to-face meeting between China and the United States was in June last year. The then Secretary of State Pompeo and Yang Jiechi held talks in Hawaii, but bilateral relations were rapidly deteriorating at that time, and the talks failed to achieve substantive results. Since Biden took office as president, Chinese officials have repeatedly signaled that they hope to reset the relationship between the two sides. However, the views expressed by the Biden administration on many issues have clearly continued the hardline stance and hardline policy of the former Trump administration towards China. It is the consensus of the two parties in the United States that Biden cannot go against the wind.

China adheres to the red line of sovereignty on Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Uyghur issues. In particular, the Hong Kong and Taiwan issues are not negotiable and difficult for Beijing to compromise. As the rift between the Chinese and US governments deepens, we cannot expect the two countries to meet each other halfway. . In any case, this high-level meeting gave Beijing and Washington an opportunity to expound the issues of mutual concern and discuss areas of divergence in a frank manner. Even if the dialogue has little effect, it may pave the way for further bilateral dialogue and discussion of any cooperation in the future.

The relationship between China and the United States affects the whole body. The two countries cannot coexist. The world will always be in a difficult situation. Confrontation cannot always be the main theme of the relationship between the two sides. China and the United States must create favorable conditions for a series of follow-up opportunities to engage in multi-domain and multi-level dialogue, and find the points of convergence of common interests to repair the relationship. It is hoped that the high-level meeting between China and the United States in Anchorage, where the temperature is below zero, can be the beginning of China and the United States to manage and control conflicts, resolve differences, and slow down confrontation.

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