Beijing, July 27 (IANS) In a first face-to-face meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman discussed “ways to set terms for responsible management” of bilateral ties.
The meeting took place in Beijing on Monday.
According to a readout of the meeting issued by the US State Department, Sherman and Wang had a “frank and open discussion about a range of issues, demonstrating the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between our two countries”.
Although Sherman underscored that the US “welcomes the stiff competition” between the two superpowers, Washington “does not seek conflict” with Beijing, it added.
According to the State Department, Sherman raised a series of concerns in private, in particular, 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.
“She also spoke about our concerns about Beijing’s conduct in cyberspace; across the Taiwan Strait; and in the East and South China Seas,” the readout said.
The Deputy Secretary also raised the cases of American and Canadian citizens detained in China or under exit bans and “reminded officials that people are not bargaining chips”.
She “reiterated concerns about China’s unwillingness to cooperate with the World Health Organization and allow a second phase investigation into the Covid-19 origins”.
Meanwhile, Sherman also affirmed the importance of cooperation in areas of global interest, such as the climate crisis, counter-narcotics, non-proliferation, and regional concerns including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, and Myanmar, said the readout.
On his part, Wang, who is also the State Councillor, said it requires serious consideration for the US side to make correct choices as to whether the bilateral ties will head to confrontation or improvement, reports Xinhua news agency.
Calling Sherman’s visit a part of mutual contact and dialogue, he said the two sides should enhance mutual understanding, erase misunderstanding, avoid misjudgment and better manage differences via constant dialogues.
The Foreign Minister also said that China’s development is aimed at seeking happiness for all Chinese people, rather than challenging or replacing the US.
“We take no interest in betting winnings or losses of the US side. China’s development is not based on the premise of US decline.”
He said issues regarding Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong have never been about “human rights” or “democracy”, but about fighting against “Xinjiang independence”, “Tibet independence” and “Hong Kong independence”.
“We have a clear view on where China-US relations are headed, that is, to find a way for two major countries with different systems, cultures and stages of development to coexist peacefully on this planet through dialogue,” he added.