The US State Department has been accused of treating China as an “imaginary enemy” in a meeting between top diplomats.
Sherman travelled in Tianjin, China’s northernmost city, on Sunday for talks with Xie and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, as part of continuing US efforts to “advance US interests and values and properly manage the relationship,” according to her office.
The Chinese ministry statement, released before of Sherman’s meeting with Wang, accused the United States of attempting to rekindle a “sense of national purpose” by organizing a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society” effort to vilify and repress China.
According to the statement, “the US seems to seek collaboration when it wants something from China; disconnecting, cutting off supplies, blockading or punishing China when it thinks it has an advantage; and turning to war and confrontation at all costs,” added Xie.
Xie was also reported as stating that the US was “in no position to teach China on democracy and human rights,” citing the US’ treatment of Native Americans in the past and military actions.
The United States has yet to issue a comment on the meeting.
The discussions take place more than three months after the two nations’ tense encounter in Alaska in March, during which officials from both sides openly spat insults.
Chinese officials accused the US team of being “condescending” in tone during the encounter, which was the first under US President Joe Biden’s administration, while a US source claimed Beijing’s delegates appeared “bent on grandstanding.”
The two nations have continued to fight on a variety of fronts in the months after Alaska, with the US administration harshly criticizing China’s actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. According to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China imposed fresh penalties against seven US people and organizations, including former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in retaliation to US sanctions against numerous Hong Kong government officials.
Willy Lam, an associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a veteran Chinese political observer, told CNN that the US-China relationship is at a “all-time low.”
As a result, talks like the one between Sherman and Wang are geared at avoiding the antagonistic relationship from deteriorating into a frontal confrontation, according to Lam. “Sherman said that she intends to construct guardrails and parameters. So that problems may be resolved via dialogue rather than confrontation and conflict, “Lam said.
“If the talks go well, there may be a chance for President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping to meet face to face at the G20 Summit in Italy in October,” Lam added.
“The Chinese, on the other hand, have previously refused to meet with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and a top official from the Chinese Central Military Commission. The Chinese have likewise been hesitant to establish a hotline. So whether Biden and Xi will meet at the highest level is a big question mark “Lam said.
Wang Yi told Hong Kong station Phoenix TV before of his meeting with Sherman on Monday that “no nation is superior to others,” and China would not tolerate any country that takes such a stance.
“The US has long used its self-proclaimed capabilities to exert pressure on others in a condescending manner, believing that it is superior to others,” Wang said on Saturday. “However, I would want to convey to the US side that there is never, and should never be, a nation that is superior to others, and China would not tolerate any country bragging of its superiority.”
Last Wednesday, a US State Department spokeswoman stated Sherman would be going to China “from a position of strength,” prompting Wang’s retort.
“If the United States has not learned how to get along with other nations on an equal basis by today,” Wang said, “it is our duty, together with the international community, to teach the United States a good lesson in this respect.”