China snubbed senior U.S. officials to exacerbate diplomatic deadlock
Beijing refused to allow US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to meet with her Deputy Secretary of State, thus neglecting the United States. Plan to visit China This will be the first high-level contact since the intense negotiations in Alaska.
According to four people familiar with the matter, the United States suspended Sherman’s plan to go to Tianjin after China refused to agree to a meeting with her colleague Le Yucheng. China offered to meet with Xie Feng, the fifth official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of US affairs.
The Biden administration has been negotiating the first high-level contact since their first meeting in Alaska, and a public quarrel broke out between U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken and China’s top foreign policy official Yang Jiechi.
Although the State Department did not say that Sherman will go to China, she plans to visit Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia.
China’s snub follows a similar The two armies face offEarlier this year, China rejected several requests from the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet with China’s top military official, General Xu Qiliang. But China refused to contact, having previously offered to meet with the defense minister who is lower in its system.
Evan Medros, an expert on China at Georgetown University, said that China is “playing a game” because the history of the diplomatic conference shows that Sherman should meet with the second official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“China’s move is dangerous. In an already stressful period, it increases the risk of mistrust, tension and misjudgment,” Medeiros said.
China originally suggested that Sherman could also have a video call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to Tianjin.
Last month, Kurt Campbell, the top White House official in Asia, said the United States was frustrated by China’s refusal to arrange meetings with officials close to Xi Jinping. He said that even Yang and Wang are “not far away” from the inner circle of advisors trusted by the Chinese president.
The deadlock happened four months later Alaska Conference, Which also ends with a sharp note. At the end of the two-day meeting, Yang told Brinken privately that he welcomed a follow-up meeting in China, and the Secretary of State expressed “thank you” for this. When Yang asked whether this meant he would visit, Brinken replied “Thank you is thank you”, which clearly shows that the United States is not prepared to hold another meeting that will anger China.
Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Foundation, said: “Maybe they are trying to punish the United States for not showing enough respect for Anchorage.” “Or Beijing may just be testing the Biden administration and will eventually propose a higher level. Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this visit may be added to Sherman’s itinerary.”
Ryan Hass, a former State Department expert on China who now works at the Brookings Institution, said it was “common” for the United States and China to negotiate agreements at the beginning of the new administration in Washington.
“Newly appointed US officials usually want to protect the level of etiquette their offices have traditionally been accepted by the Chinese authorities, and vice versa,” Hass said. “These types of agreement chaos are often-but not always-resolved on their own when senior officials arrive.”
A senior State Department official stated that the United States will continue to “explore opportunities” to engage with Chinese officials. “Like all overseas trips, we only announce once—if—we determine that a visit is likely to be substantial and constructive for our purposes.” A US official stated that the State Department is conducting “on-going” possible visits with Beijing. discuss.
The United States believes that Sherman’s visit may be a stepping stone to Brinken’s visit to China, which will lay the foundation for President Joe Biden’s first meeting with Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Italy in October.
The Chinese Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
follow Dmitry Sevastopoulo On twitter