BEIJING (AP) — A senior U.S. diplomat called on China to look beyond differences and work with the United States on difficult global issues such as climate and the COVID-19 pandemic as a responsible global power.
Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, was responding to Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng, who told her in a meeting Monday that China wants to shelve differences while seeking common ground.
The U.S. has not backed down from criticizing China on issues from human rights to its territorial ambitions since President Joe Biden took office in January. China has repeatedly said that the U.S. cannot expect cooperation while also suppressing China's rise, a charge that Sherman denied.
“There are some things that rise above specific differences that are the global responsibility of great powers,” Sherman said in a phone interview shortly after she wrapped up successive meetings in the Chinese city of Tianjin with Xie and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
China came out swinging at the talks Monday, blaming the U.S. for a “stalemate” in bilateral relations and calling on America to change “its highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy.”
Xie accused the Biden administration of trying to contain and suppress China’s development, according to an official summary of his remarks in the talks with Sherman.
Relations between the countries deteriorated sharply under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, and the two sides remain at odds over a host of issues including technology, cybersecurity and human rights.
Xie said China wants to seek common ground while shelving differences, highlighting a divide in the basic approach to their relationship. The Biden administration has said it will cooperate in areas such as climate but confront China in others such as human rights, describing the relationship as collaborative, competitive and adversarial.
Biden administration officials have said the goal of the talks is not to negotiate specific issues but to keep high-level communications channels open. The U.S. wants to ensure that guardrails are in place to prevent competition between the countries from turning into conflict, they said.
Ken Moritsugu, The Associated Press