US creates undesirable atmosphere before Alaska talks, but consensus remains: expert
Published: Mar 13, 2021 02:21 AM

China US Photo:VCG

China US Photo:VCG

China hopes to have a frank dialogue on common concerns and will state its position clearly during high-level strategic talks in Anchorage, Alaska, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a routine press briefing on Friday, in response to the White House's comments on the dialogue's topics related to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

While the meeting is aimed at improving bilateral relations, provocative comments have also been coming from the Biden administration and the US Congress. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the US Congress on Wednesday that the current administration would "speak out and take action against egregious violations of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong," and will "follow through on sanctions" against "those responsible for committing repressive acts" in Hong Kong. 

One the second day, soon after China’s top legislature approved changes in the Hong Kong electoral system, Blinken called the move an “assault on democracy” and a “direct attack” on the autonomy of Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong is part of China and foreign countries should not interfere in China's internal affairs, Zhao said, stressing that China will firmly defend its sovereignty, security and interests.

Chief diplomats of China and the US will meet on March 18-19 in Alaska for the high-level strategic dialogue. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday that it would be a "difficult" conversation. Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan are expected to raise issues concerning Hong Kong during the dialogue, reports said.

Analysts believe that the US statement has created an undesirable atmosphere in Alaska, but there is still a consensus on the need to ease tensions between the two countries.

Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday that the Hong Kong issue may not be the key point in the Alaska meeting, as the US may continue to exert pressure on China in the economic and trade field.

The US already has sanctions in place over Hong Kong, and what they can do is maintain their position, as too many sanctions will certainly affect the US’ own interests in Hong Kong, and it must be very clear to the White House that there is little room for the US to influence China through the Hong Kong issue, Liu said. 

The US position on Hong Kong is not to provoke China too much, but it also wants to show the world that the US is not indifferent.

At the meeting in Alaska, the US may explain to China the recent comments on Hong Kong, Liu said. 

The two countries will state their respective positions on issues of interest and test each other's attitudes, observers said. 

“The two super powers still have certain expectations of each other,” Liu said.