Chinese officials on Monday went on the offensive amid high-level talks with the U.S., blaming Washington for causing a "stalemate" in relations between the two countries.
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng accused the Biden administration of attempting tamp down Chinese development during talks with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, The Associated Press reports. Sherman is the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit China.
According to Xie, the U.S. portrays China as an “imagined enemy," straining relations between Beijing and Washington.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that China sought out the U.S.'s cooperation on climate change and the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea during the talks, but also “expressed its strong dissatisfaction” with the U.S.'s stance on tracing the origins of COVID-19, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Xinjiang province.
The AP reports that the foreign ministry also demanded that the U.S. lift visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party members and their families, sanctions on government officials and visa restrictions on Chinese students.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi also reportedly accused the U.S. of behaving as though it were superior to China.
“China would never accept any country that claims to be superior to others,” Wang said on a state-run television channel. “If the U.S. has not learned to treat other countries equally, China and the international community have the responsibility to help the U.S. learn how to do this.”
Despite these apparent grievances, Zhao said the talks were “in-depth and frank and enhanced understanding of each other’s positions, which is conducive to striving for sound development of China-U.S. relations.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that Sherman raised concerns "about a range of PRC actions that run counter to our values and interests and those of our allies and partners, and that undermine the international rules-based order."
"In particular, she raised our concerns about human rights, including Beijing’s anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong; the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang; abuses in Tibet; and the curtailing of media access and freedom of the press. She also spoke about our concerns about Beijing’s conduct in cyberspace; across the Taiwan Strait; and in the East and South China Seas," he added, describing the talks as "frank and open."
— Updated at 7:49 a.m.