China has quickly gone on the offensive as US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is in the county for high level talks with a delegation led by her Chinese counterpart, as the world's two largest economies seek a way forward out of their long time impasse. This week's talks seemed to have picked right up where the prior contentious Anchorage talks left off. Beijing essentially issued Sherman a list of grievances that must be remedied before authentic diplomacy can even get off the ground.
Official Xinhua News Agency identified "two lists" described as a 'List of US Wrongdoing That Must Stop' and 'List of Key Individual Cases that China Has Concerns With' - both of which included a litany of overreaching Washington actions that must be rolled back before any hope of positive relations.
All of the grievances are part of what China calls the US making an "imaginary enemy" of Beijing. Sherman's counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng, conveyed this bluntly to Sherman at the meeting in the northeastern port city of Tianjin. The US "wants to reignite the sense of national purpose by establishing China as an 'imaginary enemy,'" he said in the Monday statements.
"The hope may be that by demonizing China, the US could somehow... blame China for its own structural problems," Xie told Sherman further, also blaming the United States for the ongoing "stalemate" in bilateral relations. He slammed Washington's "highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy" - also highlighting the hypocrisy of the US daring to call out others on human rights related issues.
According to Chinese state media the "lists" included "urging the US to lift sanctions and visa restrictions targeted at Chinese officials and entities, and withdraw Meng Wanzhou's extradition."
Further, "In the lists, China asked the US to unconditionally lift visa restrictions on members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and their families, as well as on Chinese students and stop suppressing Chinese companies and hindering the development of the Confucius Institutes, Xie told the media after the meeting." He also demanded the US cease labeling Chinese media as "foreign missions" among other specific requests.
China called relations with the United States in a “stalemate" on Monday during a meeting in Tianjin with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the highest-level visit so far by a member of the Biden administration. By @evadou https://t.co/Op18zLAh3f— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) July 26, 2021
Xie unveiled the lists at the briefing following the talks with Deputy Secretary of State Sherman, with CCTV providing further details of the demands as follows:
- to unconditionally revoke visa bans on CCP members and their relatives;
- revoke sanctions on Chinese leaders, officials, government departments;
- revoke visa restrictions for Chinese students;
- withdraw extradition of Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou;
- stop oppressing Chinese companies;
- stop harassing Chinese students;
- stop oppressing Confucius Institutes;
- revoke requirements to register Chinese media as foreign agents or foreign missions
Sherman, for the US part, reportedly said Washington "welcomed" competition with Beijing so long as a "level playing field" is in place with "guardrails" to avoid conflicts, according to a State Department preview.
Previously State Dept. spokesman Ned Price asserted she'd be traveling to the talks in China "from a position of strength" - something which the Chinese delegation specifically tried to bat down during the talks Monday.