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Meeting between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister

{Editor’s Note: China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng held talks with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Tianjin on July 26, 2021. The website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry published a release to summarize the meeting. As the main stream media offered a tiny portion of what Xie Feng said at the meeting, the release itself gives a good amount of information. At the same time, it is also interesting to read from the release and learn how the propaganda machines in Beijing depict such meetings between China and  the U.S.

The following is a translation of the full text of the release.} {1}

Xie Feng said that the China-US relationship is now in a stalemate and faces serious difficulties. Fundamentally, it is because some Americans portray China as an “imagined enemy.” The hope may be that by demonizing China, the U.S. could somehow shift domestic public discontent over political, economic and social issues and blame China for its own structural problems. We urge the United States to change its highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy. Stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, stop attacking the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese leaders, stop attacking the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, stop undermining China’s core interests, and stop curbing and suppressing China’s development.

Xie Feng pointed out that the competitive, collaborative and adversarial rhetoric of the U.S. side is a thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China. The real emphasis is on the adversarial aspect; the collaborative aspect is just an expediency; and the competitive aspect is a narrative trap. U.S. policy seems to be to demand cooperation when it wants something from China; it is decoupling, cutting off supplies, blockading or sanctioning China when it believes it has an advantage and it is resorting to conflict and confrontation at all costs. It seems that the U.S. only thinks about addressing its own concerns, getting the results it wants and advancing its own interests. Having done evil to the extreme, it has gotten all the benefits. How is that ever possible?

Xie Feng commented that the U.S. side claimed to dialogue with China “from a position of strength,” which is, in essence, condescending and oppressive. This did not work in Anchorage and it is even more unlikely to succeed in Tianjin. Dialogue requires mutual respect and equal treatment. The U.S. side claims to be setting up “guardrails” for China-U.S. relations to prevent and avoid conflict, but both sides must agree on such a code of conduct. They must follow the principle of equality and mutual benefit. They must be oriented toward safeguarding the interests of both sides, and it must be binding on both sides rather than the U.S. unilaterally setting boundaries for China’s behavior. The U.S. side’s so-called safeguarding the “rules-based international order” is that the U.S. and a few other countries want to package their own “family codes and gang rules” as international rules to regulate and suppress other countries. That is to play rogue and tamper with the rules to restrict others, to benefit itself, and to introduce “the law of the jungle” where might is right and the big bully the small. Why does the United States claim to be the spokesman for global democracy? Why does it set standards for global democracy, and why does it impose sanctions and pressure on other countries? The United States should first reflect on itself and seriously address its own democracy and human rights issues.

Xie Feng said that China has neither bet on the United States to lose, nor does it have a so-called “grand strategy” to weaken and replace the United States. Those claims are purely “conspiracy theory,” and there is no need for the U.S. to be suspicious. China has never wanted to be an enemy of the U.S., never intended to engage in an arms race with the U.S., never formed a military alliance against the U.S., never exported its ideology and development model, and never interfered in the internal affairs of the U.S. At the same time, the United States should not bet on China to lose, let alone expect China to disintegrate and collapse and have a regime change. One hundred years of experience have fully proven that the Chinese Communist Party is the most successful political party in the world, and that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the most suitable and successful development path for China. The CCP is the great savior of the Chinese people, and a peaceful, stable, developing and prosperous China is a blessing to the world.

Xie Feng stressed that China firmly opposes the U.S. side politicizing the issue of the origin probe of the coronavirus, to engage in a presumption of guilt and smear framing. The epidemic is a global outbreak at multiple points and must be investigated at multiple points. The U.S., as a country where the spread of the epidemic is particularly serious, should not become a blind spot and should take the lead in accepting the investigation. In particular, it is necessary to investigate thoroughly the virus leak at Fort Detrick Biological Laboratory, the massive outbreak of e-cigarette pneumonia in Wisconsin in July 2019, and the more than 200 overseas biological experiment bases of the United States. What’s more, the U.S. side must not interfere with scientific investigations, spread rumors, plant evidence against specific countries, and coerce the WHO, experts, scholars, and scientific institutions to come up with the results that the U.S. side wants.

Xie Feng pointed out that the one-China principle is the basis for the establishment of the China-U.S. diplomatic relations, and also the cornerstone of the bilateral relations. There are clear provisions, written in black and white, in the three U.S.-China joint communiqués, on how to deal with the Taiwan issue. The U.S. side is playing with fire by breaking its promises and backtracking on the Taiwan issue over a period of time. No one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will, and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Only if we oppose and stop “Taiwan independence” will there be peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Xie Feng said the U.S. side’s vilification of China’s “genocide” and “forced labor” in Xinjiang is a complete fabrication. In the past 40 years, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang has doubled, life expectancy has doubled, life has become more affluent and education has become more advanced. Where is such “genocide” in the world? Some people have gone through vocational education and training, abandoned extremist ideology, acquired knowledge and skills, and returned to society to start their own businesses. Where is such “forced labor” in the world? The crimes committed by the U.S. against the Indians are genocide and crimes against humanity. The U.S. side should reflect on and correct its original sin.

Xie Feng said that China is firmly opposed to the U.S. side’s illegal sanctions on Hong Kong-related issues. The U.S. side is unwilling to face the reality that Hong Kong has returned to China and still wants to treat Hong Kong as an “independent” or “semi-independent” political entity, attempting to create a “bridgehead” to sabotage, infiltrate and subvert China. The U.S. side’s smear campaign and unilateral sanctions will not shake the overall situation in Hong Kong or China’s determination and confidence in promoting “one country, two systems.” The 1.4 billion Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, are not afraid of ghosts and do not believe in evil. They have not and will not be afraid of any external pressure.

Xie Feng pointed out that the U.S. side has gathered a few countries to fabricate the story that China launched “malicious cyber operations,” which is completely out of thin air and “a thief crying to catch a thief.” The United States is the country with the highest concentration of Internet technology in the world, and it is also the country that launches the most aggressive cyber-attacks and steals the most secrets online. China is one of the main victims. It is the U.S. that is the “hacker empire” and “surveillance empire” of the world today. The so-called “clean network” of the U.S. is not clean at all. The U.S. side should immediately stop cyber theft and attacks against China and the world, stop pouring dirty water on China on cyber security issues, and stop using  any means to suppress Chinese companies.

Xie Feng also presented two lists to the U.S. side: a list of 16 items demanding that the U.S. side correct its wrong policies and words and deeds towards China, and a list of 10 priority cases of China’s concern.

Xie Feng made the comment that what the world needs most is solidarity and cooperation, for those in the human race are passengers in the same boat. The Chinese people cherish peace. What China hopes to build is a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. The U.S. side needs to change course and work with China on the basis of mutual respect and embrace fair competition and peaceful coexistence with China. After all, a healthy and stable China-U.S. relationship serves the interests of both sides and the world expects nothing less from the two sides.

The two sides also had an in-depth exchange of views on climate change, the Iranian nuclear issue, the Korean Peninsula, Myanmar, anti-narcotics and other topics of their respective and common concern. Xie Feng clarified China’s position, stressing that cooperation should be based on mutual trust and mutual benefit, that it is necessary to show sincerity, and that the U.S. cannot suppress and contain China on the one hand and expect China to give unconditional cooperation on hot issues on the other.

Sherman expressed its condolences to the people affected by the floods in Henan Province. Sherman expressed appreciation for China’s tremendous achievements in economic growth and poverty reduction, made it clear that the U.S. does not seek to deter China’s development, reaffirmed its adherence to the one-China policy and to giving no support to “Taiwan independence,” and emphasized that the U.S. and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, bear great responsibility for maintaining world peace and security.

The talks lasted for more than four hours. Both sides believe that today’s talks were frank and in-depth and are willing to continue such open and honest communication.

{1} Website of the Foreign Ministry of China, July 26, 2021