US and China draw their lines, including on Tibet, in first foreign ministry-level talk

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

(, Feb07’21) – Both the United States and China have made clear their position on issues on which they have serious difficulty in getting the other side to act during the first telephone conversation between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on Feb 5. Both have expressed their determination to stand up for and press the other side on those issues.

Blinken has pressed for accountability on human rights abuses, particularly in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

“Secretary Blinken stressed the United States will continue to stand up for human rights and democratic values, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and pressed China to join the international community in condemning the military coup in Burma (Myanmar),” the AFP Feb 6 quoted State Department Spokesperson Ned Price as saying in a readout of the call.

Blinken reaffirmed that the United States will work together with its allies and partners in defence of their shared values and interests to hold China accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait, and its undermining of the rules-based international system, Price was cited as saying.

Blinken himself has tweeted: “I made clear the US will defend our national interests, stand for our democratic values and hold Beijing accountable for its abuses of the international system.”

While expressing readiness to work with Beijing when it was in America’s interest to do so, the Biden administration has also made it clear that it would not reverse the Trump administration’s course in towards the Asian giant, noted the Deutsche Welle Feb 6.

On his part, Yang has demanded that the US “correct recent mistakes, and work with China to promote the healthy and stable development of China-US relations by upholding the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” Feb 6 quoted a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Yang has emphasized that both sides should respect the other’s core interests, as well as political systems and developmental paths of their own choosing. “Each side should focus on taking care of its own domestic affairs. China will firmly continue down the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and no one can stop the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” he has said.

In this connection, Yang has warned Blinken that issues relating to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are China’s internal affairs, and that the country would not tolerate any external interference.

Blinken had earlier agreed with the Trump administration’s determination that China was committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.


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