“The US side is not in a position to lecture China on democracy and human rights,” Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng told Sherman, adding that the United States was once “involved in a genocide against American natives.”
China has yet to release details of Wang’s meeting with Sherman, which took place in a hotel complex inspired by ancient Chinese architecture in Tianjin, a coastal city not far from Beijing.
US attempts to separate cooperation on climate change from economic competition or criticism of human rights would not work, according to Chinese officials.
“The Chinese look at things with wide eyes. They see the competitive, collaborative and contradictory rhetoric as a thinly veiled attempt to contain and repress China, ”Xie said. “They feel that the real emphasis is on the adversary aspect.”
“American policy seems to demand cooperation when it wants something from China; untie, cut supplies, block or sanction China when it believes it has an advantage; and resort to conflict and confrontation at all costs, ”Xie said.
The strong response came despite Sherman’s attempt to assure his Chinese interlocutors that the United States was trying to avoid confrontation.
“Undersecretary and State Councilor Wang had a frank and open discussion on a variety of topics, demonstrating the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between our two countries,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “They discussed ways to establish terms for the responsible management of the US-China relationship. The undersecretary stressed that the United States welcomes stiff competition between our countries and that we intend to continue strengthening our own competitive hand, but that we do not seek a conflict with the People’s Republic of China.
Sherman raised various human rights issues with Wang, according to Price. Among them are Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, as well as “concerns about Beijing’s conduct in cyberspace; across the Taiwan Strait; and in the East and South China Seas. “
He also raised the sensitive issue of the current World Health Organization. probe at the origin of Covid-19, which Beijing is blocking on grounds of politicization and stigmatization.