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China Accepts U.S. Proposal for Alaska Talks, with Cautious Optimism

March 11 , 2021 (EIRNS)—China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian officially welcomed the upcoming high-level meeting with the United States. China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi along with Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi, agreed to meet with Tony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisor, in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18. Zhao further stated: “We require the U.S. to treat China and Sino-U.S. relations in an objective and rational manner, discard the Cold War and zero-sum thinking, and respect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.”

China’s English-language Global Times covered a roundup of various experts, basically looking for reasons for cautious optimism. They observed that the meeting was scheduled earlier in the new Biden administration’s term than expected. Next, “Chinese experts said it’s confirmed that the U.S. was the one to have sent the invitation.” They also said that “the U.S. is being very careful and highly values ties with China, since it wouldn’t meet with China unless it’s fully prepared.” Finally, they praised the site selection. Yang Xiyu of the China Institute of International Studies was quoted: “Compared with the other 48 states on its mainland, Alaska and Hawaii are less politically sensitive.”

Global Times also editorialized: “The U.S. side should abandon the mentality of them having special advantages in the dialogue. Mutual respect will be more conducive to reaching some outcomes in the meeting. The U.S. has emphasized the strength of its alliance system. But this factor is exaggerated.” But the allies of the U.S. in the region “are more motivated to cooperate with Beijing than to contain China with the U.S.” Rather,

“it is reasonable for China and the U.S. to accept their differences. The purpose of engagement should be to manage differences, seek common interests, and promote cooperation where both sides can and should.” But “some Americans still have a serious zero-sum mentality.... We feel that the U.S. still does not understand China, and it has misread the nature of China’s system and its goal of rejuvenation.”

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