US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman landed in Tianjin on Sunday to hold talks with her Chinese counterpart and Secretary of State Wang Yi. The US State Department had announced in advance that the US wanted to negotiate from a “position of strength”. However, experts warn that Washington must shed this feeling of superiority in order for constructive talks to take place.
Chinese officials and scientists have urged Washington to give up its sense of superiority. Beijing will not give in if visiting US diplomats continue to insist on negotiating from a “position of strength” at a meeting with China. However, should Washington choose to stop applying pressure and show willingness to co-operate To deal with the differences between the two sides, China will respond with benevolence at the negotiating table, the experts said.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman arrived in Tianjin on Sunday for a two-day visit. The visit is seen as another important diplomatic step after the high-level strategic dialogue between China and the US in Anchorage, Alaska, in March.
Relations between the world’s two largest economies have been further strained in recent months by Washington’s attacks on China on matters affecting Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or tracing the origins of COVID-19.
Xie Feng, the deputy foreign minister responsible for China-US relations, will hold talks with Sherman, according to a statement from the Chinese State Department. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will then also meet with Sherman.
The visit was overshadowed by recent statements by US State Department officials that the US would be handling China from a “position of strength” during Sherman’s visit.
“If the US has not learned to treat other countries on an equal footing, China has a duty to work with the international community to help the US catch up on this lesson,” Wang Yi told reporters on Saturday.
The US always wanted to use its strength to put other countries under pressure and would think they are superior, criticized Wang when asked about Washington’s harsh words in the run-up to the visit.
“There has never been a country and should never be a country that can be superior to others in the world,” said the Foreign Minister. China would not accept such a claim from any country.
Sherman had previously visited Japan, South Korea and Mongolia before arriving in China, the US State Department announced. Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, noted that Washington is trying to move closer to these countries in order to increase pressure on China, but that attempt “will definitely be in vain because China never goes into it.”
State Department spokesman Zhao Lijian announced on Friday that during Sherman’s visit, Beijing will “continue to state China’s position of principle on the development of China-US relations and firmly protect its sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Zhao criticized Washington for calling China a competitor, adding that it reflected Washington’s “arrogance and tyranny” for speaking to China from a “position of strength”.
Prior to Sherman’s visit, US State Department spokesmen and unnamed government officials had briefed reporters on Washington’s views on the upcoming talks, saying the US welcomed “tough and ongoing competition” with Beijing.
Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the American Studies Department at the China Institute of International Studies, said that since the US proposed the meeting to China, the recent “public tricks” are a clear sign of the US’s “lack of self-confidence”.
If Washington increased the pressure on issues such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang, it would pave the way to “negotiating” for Sherman’s trip, Su said, making it clear that such an approach would not work.
Beijing has no illusions about the visit: “Productive talks will only take place if Washington shows sincerity for the dialogue,” said Su.
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