China, US keep dialogue, but 'no respect, no cooperation'
Published: Mar 14, 2022 11:19 PM
Journalists wait outside the Cavalieri Waldfor Astoria hotel in Rome on local time March 14, 2022 where China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi was scheduled to meet US president's national security advisor Jake Sullivan. Photo: AFP

Journalists wait outside the Cavalieri Waldfor Astoria hotel in Rome on local time March 14, 2022 where China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi was scheduled to meet US president's national security advisor Jake Sullivan. Photo: AFP

China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi met US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in the Italian capital of Rome Monday to exchange views on China-US relations and other international and regional issues of common concern. 

Chinese analysts said the US wants to use the Rome meeting to further pressure China to serve its sanctions against Russia, but China won't be misguided, and they slammed Washington for its arrogance in bossing other countries to unconditionally follow its strategy while showing no respect to the core interests of others. 

However, the differences won't allow the world's No.1 and No.2 economies to cut off channels of communication, since there are many issues on which the two sides share common concerns. Experts said the scheduled Yang-Sullivan meeting, nearly four months after the virtual summit was held between the top leaders of the two countries, demonstrated that the China-US high-ranking communication mechanism is stably running and is a positive sign to the world at such a turbulent time.

The key issue of this meeting is to implement the important consensus reached by the Chinese and US heads of state in their virtual summit in November last year, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, announced on Sunday. 

China and the US arranged the meeting between Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, and Sullivan at the end of last year. Both sides have been in communication on the meeting and set the date and time, said Zhao. 

The White House said in a statement on Sunday that the two sides will discuss ongoing efforts to manage the competition between the two countries and discuss the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on regional and global security. 

Monday's meeting was not one that was urgently set up in response to an emergency, it had been planned long ago by the two sides according to their own schedules, Diao Daming, associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

According to the statement from the White House, Sullivan will also meet with Luigi Mattiolo, diplomatic advisor to the Italian Prime Minister.

Diao said one important part of the discussion will address whether the consensus reached by the leaders of China and the US in their November 2021 meeting has been fulfilled and how the next step will be implemented. 

"The stably sustained high-ranking communication between China and the US, the two major powers whose relations have long affected the overall development of the world, will send positive signals to the world at this time," said Diao. 

Chinese experts said the most important consensus reached by the two leaders in November 2021 is to reconfirm the US stance on supporting the one-China principle and opposing Taiwan secessionism, as this is the foundation of bilateral ties. But what the US has done indicates it will continue to be duplicitous, so based on this fact, it's unlikely that there will be a major breakthrough to bring ties back on normal track despite the two sides maintaining dialogue.

Yang and Sullivan met in Zurich in October 2021, during which both parties had a "comprehensive and in-depth" exchange of views on China-US relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern. 

Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the issue of common concern for both China and the US now is the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He highlighted that the key to this issue is the strategic confrontation between Russia and the US, or NATO.

With a potentially tense conflict between Russia and the US, it is critical for the US to understand China's position, and China also wants to know how the US will play the game under the current situation, Lü noted. 

The US might expect China to be a mediator with Russia, but the US should not try to create discord between China and Russia even if it is not capable of doing so, the expert said.

The US should calm down and take a more reasonable view of bilateral relations and the global order, and it should reconsider its approaches toward both China and Russia and learn that pressure, sanctions and provocations won't solve any problems, but only make the US suffer more, Chinese experts said.

Apart from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, other hot topics concerning regional or international relations, such as climate change, the Korean Peninsula issue and the Iran nuclear deal, could also be discussed in Monday's meeting, according to Diao.

No respect, no cooperation

According to CNN, Sullivan said on Sunday that Russia is concerned about China's support after the West launched sanctions against Moscow. "

We also are watching closely to see the extent to which China actually does provide any form of support, material support or economic support, to Russia. It is a concern of ours. And we have communicated to Beijing that we will not stand by and allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses from the economic sanctions," Sullivan said.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times, "Obviously, the US is expecting China to do unconditionally what it says or it will punish China as well. This is totally opposite to the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation."

The three principles were laid out by the Chinese side at the virtual summit between the two heads of state last year.

If the US keeps dealing with China in this way, the dialogue will be pointless and meaningless, and there is no chance that Washington will get what it wants from China, said Li, noting that this would be a tragedy of US diplomacy, and "we hope the US won't mess up its ties with China like it did with Russia. It has made a huge mistake in dealing with Russia, and it's making mistakes in dealing with China." 

Both China and Russia are aware of the US attempt to split them, but both sides have confidence and calmness to make the strategic partnership withstand the instigation from Washington, said analysts. 

Timofei Bordachev, program director of the Moscow-based Valdai Club, told the Global Times on Monday, "A high level of trust exists between Chinese and Russian leadership. What is most important is not the efforts of the US, but how the present relationship between China and Russia fits the development goals of both nations, which do not require competition between them."

The US is trying to force the international community to stand with it, and will not give any room for any other countries to remain neutral or stay away from joining Western sanctions and condemn Russia, just as China, India, Turkey, Israel and South Africa are doing, observers said.  

These countries have their own reasons for refusing to follow Western sanctions, as they make diplomatic decisions independently based on their own interests, their understanding of the issue and fairness in international relations, rather than just simply following the US or Russia, said experts. 

Observers also noted that these countries are the ones that can really contribute to mediating the conflict, as only those that are truly neutral will be accepted by the warring parties to be mediators, while the US can only worsen the situation through sanctions and supplying weapons.