fredag 19. mars 2021

Alaska dispute between US and Chinese officials an inauspicious start to a new era of relations

So much for a reset. When it was first revealed that top officials from the United States and China would be meeting in Alaska this week, there was a degree of optimism this could mark the start of a new relationship between the two countries, after an almost complete breakdown during the final year of President Donald Trump's term.

Last month, following a call between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, who is taking part in the Alaska summit, said "in the past few years, China-US relations deviated from the normal track, and ran into the biggest difficulties since the establishment of diplomatic ties."

Wang called for a reset, and Chinese state media speculated an "Alaska moment" could provide the opportunity for just that. But as the summit neared, both sides began signaling that any room for compromise was small, downplaying the chances of real progress. This culminated in China's ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, saying Thursday he had no "high expectations" for the Alaska talks.