The Chinese regime bombarded U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman with complaints and accusations during her in-person visit to China on July 26. The talks were reminiscent of the brazen tone of Chinese officials during the first high-level meeting in Alaska in March, dubbed “wolf warrior” diplomacy, as the Biden administration attempts a new round of “engaging” with China.
Sherman met with China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng on July 26 in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, before meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Sherman is the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit China.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that Sherman raised several U.S. concerns with Yi and other Chinese officials, including Beijing’s anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong, the ongoing genocide in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang, abuses in Tibet, and the regime’s conduct in cyberspace, the Taiwan Strait, and the East and South China Seas.
“The Deputy Secretary reiterated concerns about the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] unwillingness to cooperate with the World Health Organization and allow a second-phase investigation in the PRC into COVID-19’s origins,” Price said.
The meeting was first announced by the U.S. State Department on July 21, before China’s foreign ministry confirmed it a few hours later. According to The Associated Press, the State Department said the administration was “exploring opportunities” through Sherman’s trip to engage senior Chinese officials in person.
During the meeting with Sherman, Xie blamed the United States for the ongoing problems between the two countries, including “demonizing China” and “blam[ing] China for its own structural problems.” He said the United States should “change its highly misguided mindset.”
Xie also accused the United States of engaging in “coercive diplomacy” and added that Beijing “has never coerced any country.”
Following the meeting, Xie told local media that China had given the U.S. side two lists, one of them detailing the United States’ “wrongdoings” and the other of China’s concerns about certain cases, according to China’s state-run media.
Included in the lists were China’s demands that the United States lift sanctions and visa restrictions against Chinese officials and entities, and withdraw its extradition request for Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer for China’s tech giant Huawei.
The U.S. government has placed sanctions on Chinese officials and entities over their human rights violations against Falun Gong adherents, Hongkongers, and Uyghurs. Currently, 59 Chinese defense and tech firms are blacklisted, preventing U.S. investors from investing in those firms.
On July 25, Sherman wrote on Twitter that she had spoken to U.S. companies about “the challenges they’re facing in China.”
Before Sherman arrived in China, senior Biden administration officials announced that her trip was a “continuation” of March’s talks in Anchorage, Alaska. Additionally, the United States is seeking “guardrails and parameters” in the hopes that what the administration is characterizing as bilateral competition doesn’t “veer into an unintended conflict.”
The Alaska talks featured Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and senior foreign policy diplomat Yang Jiechi. The meeting is remembered for Yang dressing down Blinken and Sullivan while violating the meeting’s protocol. Yang lashed out at the two U.S. officials over what he asserted was the United States’ poor treatment of minorities and its struggling democracy.
The Chinese delegation’s behavior in Alaska was criticized by a number of U.S. lawmakers and China experts, including Miles Yu, a China adviser to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
At the time, Yu told The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program that the Chinese delegation hadn’t traveled to Alaska to resolve bilateral issues but to score “cheap propaganda” points and “discredit American democracy.”
In an op-ed published on June 23, China expert Gordon Chang questioned the Biden administration’s desire to continue to engage China, pointing to the Alaska talks.
“China, it is evident, is now in no mood for substantive discussions, other than, of course, for the purpose of accepting America’s surrender,” Chang wrote.