“The Chinese delegation … seems to have arrived intent on grandstanding, focused on public theatrics and dramatics over substance,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters in Anchorage, according to Reuters. “They made that clear by promptly violating protocol.”
He added that “exaggerated diplomatic presentations often are aimed at a domestic audience.”
The official said the two sides had agreed on two-minute opening statements that ended up going for more than an hour.
In return, Chinese state media called the U.S. “inhospitable” and claimed U.S. officials had spoken for too long.
China had been looking for a reset in relations with the U.S. after tensions with the Trump administration, but U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made it clear that the Biden administration would take a tough stance with Beijing.
Blinken said the U.S. would bring up its “deep concerns” about issues related to the government’s repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, as well as anti-democracy efforts in “Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States [and] economic coercion of our allies” during the first official talks of the Biden administration.
China, for its part, accused the U.S. of meddling in the country’s domestic affairs, claimed the United States has a human rights problem and said the U.S. military uses its might to suppress other countries.
A Biden official called a second meeting Thursday evening “substantive, serious, and direct,” saying both sides were able to outline their interests and priorities, Reuters reported.
A third meeting is scheduled for Friday morning.