Netizens applaud Chinese delegation’s sharp response to US at Alaska talks
Published: Mar 19, 2021 10:02 PM Updated: Mar 20, 2021 03:55 PM
Photo: Weibo

Photo: Weibo

Chinese netizens applauded the sharp counterattack by the Chinese delegation in responding to the US side's arrogance and aggression at the China-US high-level meeting in Alaska on Friday. Chinese diplomats' hardline stance shows their determination and confidence in protecting the interests of today's China, netizens said.

In the face the US provocation at the talks, the hard-hitting remarks of the Chinese delegation - such as "the US side is not qualified to speak to China from a position of strength" - excited Chinese netizens on Friday, many of whom said they were very proud to see their motherland and its diplomats becoming more powerful and dauntless day by day.

On Chinese social media, a video clip of China's popular patriotic animation Year Hare Affair went viral on Friday. It shows cartoon rabbits and hawks - representing China and the US - quarrelling with each other at the table. Weibo users said this clip, although depicting the negotiations between the two countries in the 1950s, also represented the ongoing Alaska talks: similarly heated, tit-for-tat and difficult.

The animation's author Lin Chao said he felt glad to see the widespread posting of the clip. "It may be 'no discord, no concord' between China and the US," Lin told the Global Times on Friday, mentioning the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53) that ended in the complete withdrawal of US-led UN troops from North Korea. "At that time, the US wouldn't respect China until being beaten by the Chinese [army]."

The Alaska talks reminded some netizens of the early 1900s, when China was too weak to get any respect. They forwarded two pictures on Weibo on Friday, which respectively depicted the signing of the unequal Xinchou Treaty (Boxer Protocol) between the Chinese delegation and Western invaders in 1901, and the latest Sino-US Alaska meeting.

"In 1901, the Xinchou Treaty forced every Chinese to pay the invaders 50 grams of silver; but now in 2021, our diplomats directly said to their US counterparts that they are not qualified to speak to China [with an arrogant tone]," read the words on the two pictures, implying that China is no longer the bullied country of 120 years ago.

"It's good to see our diplomats 'warn' the US politicians," one user wrote. "I truly feel the days when we were poor and weak are gone forever."

There have been many quarrels and debates throughout the history of Sino-US relations, but most of them happened in the earlier years before China's reform and opening-up (in the late 1970s), said Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University.

"China's diplomatic style toward the US has changed," Li told the Global Times on Friday. Chinese diplomats used to be more moderate, as China wanted to show its goodwill to the US, Li said.

Nonetheless, since the US keeps suppressing and containing China in recent years, and as the power gap between the two countries is narrowing, China is adjusting its diplomacy based on its current power and status, and the US should adapt itself to that, Li added.

China has always attached great importance to the defense of its national dignity, said Wang Dong, an expert on China-US relations at Peking University. "We are firm in our defense of sovereignty and our right to development," he noted.

Weibo users also criticized the arrogance the US delegation showed during the talks. According to a short video published online, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Foreign Affairs, said to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi that he ate instant noodles at Friday's lunch.

Many netizens believed it was just a trick by the US side not to prepare lunch for the Chinese diplomats. "Look at the 'hospitality' of the world's No.1 country," one Weibo user said, criticizing the US politicians as impolite, childish and ignorant of diplomatic protocol.

"One possibility was that our diplomats were too busy with and concentrated on the talks to spare time for lunch," Diao Daming, an expert on US studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.