A top Chinese diplomat has accused the United States of attempting to turn China into an “imagined enemy.”
State media reported the comment Monday after high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese officials in China.
The official, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng, also accused the administration of President Joe Biden of trying to suppress China’s development.
Xie met Monday with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in the northern city of Tianjin. Sherman is America’s second highest-ranking diplomat. The U.S. State Department described the four-hour meeting as “frank and open.”
Foreign media were not permitted at the site of the talks, but Chinese media reported on the discussions.
"The United States wants to reignite the sense of national purpose by establishing China as an 'imaginary enemy,’” Chinese media reported Xie as saying. The official added that the U.S. was using its government and society to attempt to suppress China.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China requested during the talks that the U.S. “change course and correct its mistakes."
The state of U.S.-Chinese relations worsened under the former administration of President Donald Trump. The two sides still have major differences on several issues, including trade, technology, cybersecurity and human rights.
U.S. officials said Sherman expressed U.S. concerns over Chinese actions in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
Sherman also met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. In that meeting, officials said she raised concerns about China's objections to further investigation of the beginnings of COVID-19.
Sherman brought up a number of issues “that run counter to our values and interests and those of our allies and partners,” the State Department said in a statement.
Sherman spoke to The Associated Press by phone after her talks. She said that while the U.S. welcomes healthy economic competition with China, it does not want such competition to develop into conflicts.
Sherman added that the U.S. expects China “to understand that human rights are not just an internal matter, they are a global commitment which they have signed up for.”
“There are some things that rise above specific differences that are the global responsibility of great powers,” Sherman said.
Sherman described the meetings as another step in a process that seeks to work through important issues with China. She said she sees possibilities for the two countries to work together in several areas. These include climate issues, anti-drug efforts and relations with North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Sherman added: “We will see whether, in fact, there’s follow-up and we are able to move another step.”
Another U.S. official told Reuters the purpose of the talks was not to reach agreements on specific issues. Instead, the official said, the goal was to discuss major areas of disagreement “so that we understand one another's position, and so that we are clear about where each side is coming from.”
I’m Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in This Story
suppress – v. to prevent something from happening
frank – adj. speaking openly and honestly
reignite – v. to make something, such as a disagreement, grow stronger
society – n. a large group of people who live in the same country or area and have the same laws, traditions. etc.
counter – adv. in a way that opposes an opinion or action
commitment – n. a promise or strong decision to do something
specific – adj. used to refer to a particular thing and not something general
global – adj. relating to the whole world