During US official’s visit, China says relations in ‘stalemate’

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China’s relationship with the United States is in a “stalemate” and facing “serious difficulties,” one of Beijing’s top officials told the US deputy secretary of state during a visit on Monday.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng made the comments to Wendy Sherman, the highest-ranking US official to visit China since Joe Biden took office as president.

“We urge the United States to change its highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy,” Xie said.

Xie said it appears a campaign is under way to bring down China.

Some Americans portray China as an “imagined enemy” and “demonizing” China may be an attempt by the US to distract the public from domestic issues, Xie said.

Later, Sherman met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, where the conversation focused heavily on human rights.

“She raised our concerns about human rights, including Beijing’s anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong; the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang; abuses in Tibet; and the curtailing of media access and freedom of the press,” read a State Department press release.

Alleged ties between Beijing and cybercriminals also came up as well as questions about the legality of many of Chinese claims to islands in its surrounding waters, including Taiwan.

According to the statement, Sherman also brought up the subject of some US and Canadian citizens currently detained in China as part of wider disputes and reminded Beijing that people are not “bargaining chips.”

She also urged China to allow a further investigation into the origins of Covid-19, which almost all medical officials say originated in China. Ever since China got its outbreak relatively under control last year, it has been disinclined to talk about its likely origins in China and has even tried to suggest alternative scenarios.

But Sherman also tried to bring up a series of points where the two countries might cooperate, including climate change, weapons proliferation, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

As a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meetings were conducted not in Beijing, but some 130 kilometres away from the Chinese capital, in the north-eastern city of Tianjin.

Relations between Washington and Beijing are tense, with disputes ongoing over issues relating to trade, alleged hacking, human rights violations and Hong Kong.

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