South Asia and Beyond

US, China Envoys get set to meet in Alaska

Alaska will be the venue for the first high-level contact between the Biden administration and China next week (Mar. 18). It takes place after the “virtual summit” of Quad heads of government. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, accompanied by the White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, will join the meeting in Anchorage with China’s foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi, and State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Human rights, a theme has been consistent with the Biden administration even since the president took office, is expected to be high on the US agenda with the focus on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

Speaking about the meeting Blinken believes that it is “an important opportunity to lay out in frank terms many concerns the US has with Beijing’s actions” though he added that there were ways that the US will be looking to co-operate with China.

China too has its concerns. Though Beijing has not made any direct official statement on the meeting, Wang Yi said in an annual news conference in China about Beijing’s opposition to “vaccine nationalism” – an issue that has bedevilled relations between the EU and UK and that the previous Trump administration had followed – and the “unreasonable” restrictions the US was placing on co-operation. He accused the US of using human rights to interfere in other countries’ affairs.