Beijing gave Washington four lists of issues to address in order to ease the tense ties now existing between the two greatest powers of the globe at their most recent summit, which took place over the weekend.
The exchange, which was first reported in a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Saturday, was confirmed on Monday during a press conference by spokesperson Wang Wenbin, who provided more details on the demands made known by Wang Yi to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“They include the updated list of U.S. wrongdoings that must stop, and the updated list of significant individual cases that the U.S. must resolve,” Wang Wenbin told reporters. “They were first presented to the U.S. side at the meeting last year in Tianjin.”
The 117th Congress’s Acts of Particular Concern to China and a list of ideas for cooperation in eight areas, including climate change, public health, and intercultural exchange, make up the other two lists.
Wang Wenbin summarised the specifics of these lists, saying they “once again demonstrate China’s serious position that the U.S. must stop exercising containment and suppression, stop meddling in China’s internal affairs, and stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests” when they were presented to President Joe Biden’s administration on behalf of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He continued, “The lists also show China’s positive stance toward carrying out practical collaboration with the U.S. on the basis of reciprocal respect, equality, and mutual advantages.” We really hope that the U.S. side will take China’s lists seriously and implement concrete measures to uphold the promises made by President Biden and the American government.
Blinken did not directly address the four lists in his press conference with Wang on Saturday, but he did state that the two parties had discussed “areas of disagreement and ways to manage and reduce risks,” including on tensions over Taiwan, human rights concerns in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet, as well as areas “where more cooperation between our countries should be possible, including on the climate crisis, food security, global health, and counter-narcotics.”
Despite the difficulties in our connection, Blinken continued, he could “state with some certainty” that both parties considered the discussions “useful and productive.”
The State Department has been contacted by Newsweek for comment.
Although the complete contents of the four lists have not been made public, previous pronouncements have provided some indications of what Beijing was specifically requesting from Washington.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng said he and his colleagues had taken a “clear stance on China-U.S. relations” after delivering the first two lists to Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, in Tianjin in July of last year. He also urged “the U.S. side to shift its extremely erroneous perception on China and its extremely dangerous policies toward China.”
At the time, Xie remarked, “The Chinese side has also once more conveyed its deep discontent with the United States’ incorrect words and actions on such matters as new coronavirus origin tracing, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and [the] South China Sea. “[China] has warned the U.S. side to cease instantly interfering in China’s domestic affairs, endangering China’s interests, crossing red lines, putting themselves in danger, and taking part in group confrontation while posing as defenders of values.”
Speaking specifically about the “list of U.S. wrongdoings that must stop,” Xie stated that “the Chinese side has urged the U.S. side to unconditionally withdraw its visa restrictions on members of the Communist Party of China and their families, revoke sanctions against Chinese leaders, officials, and government sectors, and visa restrictions against Chinese students, to stop repressing Chinese enterprises, upsetting Chinese students, and repressing Confucius Institutes, to withdra
Over the course of the previous year, it seems as though some work has been made on a few requests.
For instance, the Biden administration’s formal inquiry into COVID-19’s origins was concluded in August with an unresolved conclusion among intelligence agencies over whether the disease was more likely to have emerged organically or from a lab like the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The CFO of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, Meng, was detained in Canada due to allegations that she engaged in fraudulent transactions in an effort to get around American sanctions on Iran. The following month, an admission of guilt allowed Meng to return home.
Additionally, following the fictitious summit between Biden and Xi in November, both parties decided to increase from three months to one year the validity of the visas issued to each other’s journalists and to provide them unrestricted travel abroad and back home.
Chinese officials have publicly expressed their optimism that Biden will be a better partner than former President Donald Trump, under whose administration many of the more recent tensions in the U.S.-China relationship first surfaced. However, both Democrats and Republicans have become more hostile to Beijing in recent years, and they have both worked to enact a number of pieces of legislation that are meant to oppose the People’s Republic.
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The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act, was among these ideas and was characterised as an ambitious attempt to reform U.S. funding for science and technology efforts, particularly in an effort to compete with China. The Senate first approved it in June of last year, but Beijing has continued to oppose it because it calls for sanctions against Chinese businesses and support for those in Taiwan, a self-governing island backed by the US but claimed by China.
The America COMPETES Act of 2022, which has comparable features targeted at competing with China and was most recently passed by the Senate in March, is currently being compared to the bill being considered by the House of Representatives. Through initiatives like the Countering Communist China Act, which was proposed by the House in July of last year, conservatives have pushed for even tougher measures against Beijing.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which Biden supported in December, is one China-related bill that was passed into law since then. The action was taken in an effort to stop the import of goods produced under what the United States has labelled as human rights violations related to China’s policies toward the largely Muslim Uyghur minority in the northwest province of China, where Beijing has long denied Washington’s allegations of “genocide.”
Even the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was passed into law in November as part of Vice President Biden’s $4 trillion American Jobs Plan, examined the potential impact of labour practises in Xinjiang on the import of components for electric vehicles and placed restrictions on the use of funds for fibre optic cable and optical transmission equipment made in China.
Since Biden took office about a year and a half ago, the U.S.-China relationship has remained contentious, but leaders on both sides have acknowledged the need to carefully manage their dynamic. Even if the U.S. continues to be sceptical of China’s neutral posture on Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, there has been a noteworthy increase in high-level meetings between the two major countries in recent months.
Another sign of progress is that American officials have hinted they want to alter the tariffs placed on China as part of the trade conflict started by the Trump administration. The apparent change appeared as Biden looked for domestic measures to fight inflation.
However, geopolitical tensions continue to be a major barrier to improved U.S.-China relations, particularly in light of the Biden administration’s promotion of a “Indo-Pacific” strategy, which is widely perceived as an effort to counter Beijing’s influence in the region with that of the United States. Chinese leaders have talked extensively about the difficult topic of enhancing ties with Taiwan.
Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, claimed Friday that Chinese forces had conducted aerial and marine exercises near Taiwan, accusing Washington of assisting pro-“independence” forces in Taipei.
In the meantime, the United States continues to command Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the largest annual naval exercise in the world from which China was excluded in 2018.
U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Navy Admiral Samuel Paparo in a press briefing Saturday told that the latest installation of the drills, which began late last month, “is not oriented against any particular nation-state actor.”
He did, however, add that the training “does demonstrate the solidarity of all its participants to the international rules-based order and the principles of sovereignty, of freedom of the seas, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and against what otherwise would be expansionist activities.”