The first telephone conversation between the U.S. and Chinese diplomatic chiefs took place
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had a telephone conversation Saturday with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, sharpening Beijing’s focus on the situation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Tibet, and Hong Kong during the first talks between the two powers’ chief diplomats since President Joe Biden took office.
“I made it clear that the U.S. will defend our national interests, uphold our democratic values and hold Beijing accountable for violations of (the rules of) the international system,” Blinken said on Twitter.
During the conversation, the secretary of state stressed that the United States “will continue to stand up for human rights and democratic values, including in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong,” according to a State Department report on Blinken’s phone call with Jiechi.
During the conversation, Blinken also “insisted that China join the international community in condemning the military coup in Burma,” according to the State Department, which used the former name of Myanmar in the press release.
A senior U.S. diplomat said the United States would hold Beijing accountable for trying to undermine stability in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the Taiwan Strait, and for abusing the rules of the international system.
At a Senate hearing on his appointment, Blinken said he would continue the previous administration’s line on China. Blinken said he agreed with a State Department statement made under Donald Trump that said Beijing was carrying out genocide in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. According to human rights groups, more than a million Uighurs and other ethnic groups living in the area, mostly Muslims, are locked in camps.
Beijing has also stepped up its repression in Hong Kong, arresting leading activists after the state security law was passed, using the mass protests as a pretext for taking harsh measures against the former British colony.
Nevertheless, Biden, speaking Thursday on foreign policy, said that although the U.S. would confront China, “we are willing to work with Beijing if it is in America’s interest.”
Blinken has previously talked about possible cooperation on climate change since China and the U.S. are the world’s two largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Beijing has long supported the military junta in Myanmar, which gave way to democracy a decade ago. The U.S. welcomed this democratic transition. This week, however, the military staged a coup, arresting the country’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Chinese state media called the coup in Myanmar “a major cabinet reshuffle.
Biden strongly condemned the coup and threatened sanctions against Myanmar if the military does not relinquish power.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)