During China's Foreign Ministry press briefing on Friday, spokesman Zhao Lijian put blame squarely on the United States for the somewhat chaotic and "fiery" and "confrontational" talks in Alaska, which is the first time the Biden administration has conducted a face-to-face meeting with Beijing officials. It was essentially a failure by all accounts. Yet Biden said he was "proud" of the US diplomatic team's performance under Blinken.
The Alaska summit ended somewhat on a quieter and anti-climactic note (compared to the opening war of words the day prior) Friday as the Chinese delegation reportedly stormed out of the hotel in Anchorage, according to CNBC, without giving any comments to the press, with only the US side saying there were "very candid" conversations in talks that were "tough and direct" over many hours, particularly related to issued involving Iran and North Korea. But for all the hype regarding the "diplomacy" of the Biden presidency, the US didn't announce any level of breakthroughs with Beijing, according to Bloomberg.
Zhao blamed the US delegation for breaching agreed-upon protocol from the start, which threw things off and led to "wanton attacks" and the failure of acceptable "diplomatic etiquette". Zhao said the US side "exceeded severely the set time limit and wantonly attacked and criticized China's domestic and foreign policies, provoking disagreements." He continued, "These are hardly good host manners or proper diplomatic etiquette. The Chinese side has made a solemn response."
China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian blamed the United States for the confrontational tone at the start of the first round of China-U.S. talks in Alaska, saying that it was Washington that first provoked and stirred conflict before the talks https://t.co/X0Ln9hhFBr pic.twitter.com/qNum6vdjlQ— Reuters (@Reuters) March 19, 2021
"It is because the US side failed to keep to the set time limit and provoked disagreements first that the opening statements were fiery and theatrical, which is not what China wishes to see." He concluded, "When the Chinese delegation arrived in Anchorage, their hearts were chilled by the biting cold as well as the reception by their American host."
The US side issued its own assessment of the unusual tit-for-tat introductory remarks which were filled with mutual scathing and sweeping criticisms of human rights records and even quips of "do not lecture us". As Reuters details:
Afterwards, the United States accused China of "grandstanding" while Chinese state media blamed U.S. officials for speaking too long and being "inhospitable".
"The Chinese delegation ... seems to have arrived intent on grandstanding, focused on public theatrics and dramatics over substance," the official told reporters at the Anchorage hotel where the meeting was taking place.
"Exaggerated diplomatic presentations often are aimed at a domestic audience," the official added.
...Some even characterized the talks as a "Hongmen Banquet", referring to an event that took place 2,000 years ago where a rebel leader invited another to a feast with the intention of murdering him.
Still, it was the Thursday evening meeting which the US said was "substantive, serious, and direct" - and even ran past the initially planned-for two hours, according to Reuters.
Also on Friday Biden weighed in, with the president simply saying he was "proud" of Secretary of State Antony Blinken after the first day of the intense two-day talks, and despite the fireworks that marked the start.
Yang Jiechi responded for 18 minutes, criticizing US: "We don't believe in invading through use of force, topple other regimes, massacre people of other countries... Important for US to change own image... Many people in US have little confidence in US democracy..."— Nick Schifrin (@nickschifrin) March 18, 2021
"I am proud of the secretary of state," the president told reporters at the White House.
Meanwhile, some are asking...
👀 Biden cannot even negotiate a stair case, how is he going to negotiate with china?— PiQ (@PriapusIQ) March 19, 2021