Russia In Wings After US/China Spat

Yesterday, the first high-level talks between the US and China since the election of President Biden began in Alaska. The public portions were testy, with accusations of protocol violation and policy complaints. Monday, China is expected to seek advantage with a strengthening of ties with Russia.

The US/China talks involve the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for the United States, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and foreign policy official Yang Jiechi for China. They are scheduled for two days; on Monday, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov will be meeting Wang Yi in Bejing for what is expected to be an official strengthening of ties and show of solidarity between the two countries. After the dueling words between Biden and Putin earlier this week and the fiery opening to the summit, the United States is likely to be framed as a common villain for the Monday talks. The key question is whether the sanctions and private conversations between the United States and both adversaries will affect their decision to jointly cooperate.

The US fired the first verbal salvo in Alaska, with Blinken laying out a laundry list of grievances against the Chinese government. He raised the topics of Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Uyghur enslavement and re-education, economic coercion of US allies, and cyber attacks against the US… a mixture of aggressive acts and human rights violations by China. Yang countered by accusing the United States of interfering with free international trade, using its financial and military strength to suppress other nations, and orchestrating a slaughter of black Americans. Both sides framed the opposition as misrepresenting the facts, with the US further complaining that the Chinese had breached protocol by taking more than two minutes for their rebuttal.

The customary joint dinner was rejected, in another show of the displeasure felt by both sides. Nevertheless, the official discussion, slated for two hours, ran long due to what was later categorized by the Americans as “substantive” talks.

It is likely that the public tone differed greatly from that of the private discussions. The Biden administration is seeking to present a clear stance on key foreign policy issues, generally breaking from the weakness demonstrated by the Trump administration. To that end, they had imposed sanctions on China over the suppression of rights in Hong Kong only the day before the talks. China’s aggression was likely to be in part a show of diplomatic strength following the sanctions.

China and Russia are expected to pledge joint cooperation on Monday, ahead of potential renegotiation of the two nations’ friendship treaty which is set to expire in three months. Any shift, however slight, from their current arrangement will set the stage for international relations for years to come.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.