Monday, October 18

Crossing of accusations at a high-tension summit between the US and China: “Is that how you want to negotiate?”

  • Diplomacy China and the US insult and threaten each other at their first summit since Biden’s arrival at the White House

The United States and China are scheduled to conclude their first high-level summit since Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House tonight, Alaska time tomorrow morning in Europe. A summit that will go down in the annals of diplomacy more like a gathering of contestants expelled from the house of Big Brother that as a meeting between the two great superpowers.

The heads of the foreign and security policy of the two superpowers called each other and more, in an unprecedented spectacle. It was the reissue of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s bout of hysteria when he took off a shoe and started using it to pound the table at the United Nations General Assembly on October 12, 1960, only this time it was all carried out with ease. an exquisite education. Here the kicks were verbal, with mutual threats, recriminations, and, on occasions, almost even personal attack.

The question is where the formidable and almost even ridiculous row of Thursday to world politics leaves now. The meeting was exploratory. He did not have a definite agenda. So great things could not be expected of him. But after US Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s attacks on his Chinese counterparts, their response, and a succession of replies and counter-replies, one wonders if the encounter was worth it.

For conservative American analyst Dereck Scissors, the answer is a resounding “no.” “The Biden government hasn’t established clear policies yet, so they ended up fighting over nothing, out of sheer pose. If you need months to review the political line and form a team to deal with China, that’s fine, but then don’t pretend you’re going. to have a fruitful encounter with the Chinese, “he told the Bloomberg Scissors news agency, who works at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank Republican-leaning, though generally tough on international politics and opposed to Donald Trump.

For others, the intersection of accusations and threats made sense. Barry Pavel, who was an adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama (the former a Republican, the latter a Democrat) and is now an analyst at the think tank Atlantic Council, which in principle aligns itself with Biden’s foreign policy, “China only respects force.” Therefore, “once Beijing realizes that, contrary to what the senior officials of that country declared on Thursday, the United States is in a position of strength, the bilateral relationship will change and the most difficult issues can be managed by the two countries and there will be going to look for cooperation formulas “, as Pavel wrote on the Atlantic Council website.

The United States had heated up the summit. Just hours before it began, Washington had imposed sanctions on 24 senior Chinese and Hong Kong officials for the crushing of the regime of democratic freedoms in that former British colony carried out by Beijing last June. On Tuesday, a visit to Japan by Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Japan concluded with a joint statement in which Tokyo and Washington claimed that China “does not respect the international order.” Next, both members of Biden’s cabinet visited South Korea, another of the US’s great allies in Asia. Finally, the Secretary of Defense traveled to New Delhi, to strengthen ties with India, a country with which the United States has had very close cooperation for exactly 30 years, including military and nuclear cooperation and which Washington sees as a counterweight to India. China in Asia.

Prior to those trips, a virtual summit of heads of state and government of the Quad, the informal defense alliance made up of the US, India, Australia and New Zealand, had been held last weekend, the objective of which was redefined in 2017 by Among others, Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, set out to stop Beijing’s expansion into the South China Sea, a territory as large as five times Spain that the Chinese government claims as its own.

Biden’s policy toward China is thus virtually identical to Trump’s. But with a momentous difference: Washington does not want to go alone. That’s where all those meetings come from. And from there also comes the decision of France to send a nuclear submarine to patrol the South China Sea, where Great Britain will also send the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, accompanied by an atomic submarine and a flotilla of surface ships. , to ratify the international character of those waters.

Biden-Xi rendezvous in jeopardy

All these tensions have culminated in the Alaska summit, in which the foreign and security policy leaders of both countries called each other, literally, everything. Such was the tone that China could cancel its offer that US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping hold a virtual summit to celebrate Earth Day on April 22.

The US Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, opened the dialectical fire with a dreadful attack on the Chinese, who were at the table opposite. The chief of American diplomacy declared that he was in Anchorage to express his “deep concern” over China’s actionswhich, he implied, threatens to create a world “in which whoever has power makes the laws, and which could be much more violent and unstable.”

Blinken accused Beijing of carrying out cyberattacks and violating the rights of the Muslim minority in Xinjiang province, the population of Tibet and the inhabitants of the city of Hong Kong and Taiwan, whose independence Beijing threatens. The US Secretary of State accused Beijing of using “to economically coerce our allies”, and stepped on untouchable ground for China by making it clear that, for Joe Biden’s government, unlike that of Trump, issues such as democracy or respect for Human Rights they are not internal affairs of the countries.

Following that reception from his hosts, Chinese Communist Party Politbur member Wang Yi took the floor saying that “This is no way to receive a guest”. Wang then transformed the two minutes of his speech into more than twenty minutes, in which he accused Washington of being a “champion of cyberattacks”, and even brought out the race riots of the bold year and the movement. Black Lives Matter (Black Lives Matter) to declare that “many people in the United States do not have confidence in the democracy of that country.” The Chinese representatives declared that “it is important that the US stop promoting its democracy in the rest of the world”, to emphasize that “The United States does not represent the world”. Wang ended up saying that Blinken’s comments “weren’t normal,” so hers “weren’t” either.

The fight did not end there. When the press was leaving for the representatives of both powers to begin to negotiate or, given the seen, to insult each other more comfortably Blinken made a gesture and addressed the informants with a “wait a minute!” to tell you that the US is “not perfect” but is an open and democratic society. “What we have done throughout our history has been to face these challenges in an open, public, and transparent manner, not denying that they exist,” said the Secretary of State.

As if that was not enough, Blinken concluded by recalling how, in a meeting of Biden and Xi when both were vice presidents, the American told his interlocutor: “Never bet against the United States”. Then the secretary of state turned to his Chinese counterpart and said, “That is still true today.” Wang reacted by addressing the press with another “wait!”, After which he accused the secretary of state of using a condescending tone. Earlier, another member of the Chinese delegation, Yang Jiechi, had addressed Blinken and the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, was also present, asking them “is this how you want to negotiate?” The crossing of accusations continued during the negotiations. The Americans accused the Chinese of “do theater” and “putting drama ahead of substance.”

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