UPDATED 9:24 AM PT – Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is in Asia as part of a State Department trip to meet with leaders there. During a meeting in China with Chinese officials on Monday, she told her counterpart the U.S. is concerned about recent actions taken by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Among the concerning actions are the continued detention of U.S. and Canadian journalists.
“As I told my colleagues Foreign Minister Wang and Vice Foreign Minister Xie Fang, people are not bargaining chips,” Sherman stated. “I also raised in both meetings our strong concerns about the increasingly hostile atmosphere for foreign journalists in China.”
Even more pressing, she implied, is the CCP’s actions in the Taiwan Strait and Hong Kong. She said she had strong words over these issues with her counterparts during the meeting.
“And yes, I had frank and direct conversations in many areas with my interlocutors,” stated the deputy secretary of state. “Including the crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, the anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong, provocative military actions in the Taiwan Strait.”
The CCP, however, has their own version of events. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, accused the U.S. of misrepresenting China. He said the U.S. needs to “return to a pragmatic policy” towards the CCP.
Open communication – even when we disagree – is critical to diplomacy. We will continue to press the PRC to respect international norms and its international obligations. https://t.co/M5oGHKRdAw
— Wendy R. Sherman (@DeputySecState) July 26, 2021
Lijian also said the CCP side of the talks made three demands of the U.S. The first two demands were for the U.S. to stop opposing socialism in China; a system they see as significant to the development of the country.
“First, the U.S. must not challenge, discredit or even try to subvert the socialist path and system with Chinese characteristics,” stated the Chinese spokesperson. “Second, it must not try to obstruct or even interrupt China’s development process.”
The third demand is for the U.S. to stop allegedly interfering in China’s territorial integrity.
“And third, it must not infringe on China’s national sovereignty, let alone undermining China’s territorial integrity,” Lijian continued.
The CCP considers both Taiwan and Hong Kong as integral Chinese territory, meaning they perceive all calls by the West for freedom in those territories as interference in their domestic affairs.
Despite the contentions, the State Department said they support friendly competition between the two nations and are not looking for a conflict with China.