U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with China’s newly appointed ambassador, Qin Gang, on Aug. 12, discussing issues that Beijing was bombarded with last month.
The Deputy reviewed issues raised from the last meeting in China’s coastal city Tianjin and “expressed the United States’ commitment to continuing discussions,” said State Department’s spokesman Ned Price. The brief statement didn’t offer further details of the talk.
Sherman raised several concerns with the regime’s top diplomats during her first in-person visit to China on July 26, including Beijing’s suppression of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, the ongoing genocide in China’s far eastern Xinjiang region, abuses in Tibet, the Taiwan Strait, and boundaries of the South China Sea.
However, the regime’s Foreign Minister Xie Feng told Sherman that the United States should “change its highly misguided mindset” and accused Washington of treating Beijing as an “imaginary enemy.”
Two days later, when Qin arrived in Washington, the veteran diplomat adopted a conciliatory tone, calling for continued engagement between the two countries.
The 55-year-old Qin has gained a reputation for his sharp rhetoric employed in retorts to Western criticism of the regime. The belligerent style, which Chinese diplomats have adopted, is dubbed “wolf warrior.”
According to China’s state media Xinhua news, Qin stressed the utmost importance of Taiwan in the Sino-U.S. relationship during Thursday’s meeting.
Beijing has regarded self-ruled Taiwan as its province. The United States has recently increased its support for Taiwan, including arms sales and COVID-19 vaccine donations. This has incensed the Chinese regime, which believes Washington is colluding with forces in Taiwan seeking the island’s formal independence—a red line for Beijing.
The United States, like most countries, does not maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. But Washington is Taipei’s strongest international backer and main supplier of arms.
Meeting the newly arrived de facto U.S. Ambassador to Taipei, Sandra Oudkirk, on Friday, Taiwan Vice President William Lai expressed thanks for U.S. support and its stressing of the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait “in the face of threats from China.”
“This is extremely helpful for Taiwan’s society, cross-Taiwan Strait developments, and peace in the Indo-Pacific,” the presidential office cited Lai as saying.
Reuters contributed to this report.