China Media Attacks 'Unreasonable' Tony Blinken after Alaska Meeting

Beijing-owned media gave a frosty review of Thursday's first face-to-face meeting between Chinese officials and President Joe Biden's team in Alaska, which was dominated by a tense on-camera exchange between the two delegations.

The Anchorage meetings will run through Friday, and had been touted by both sides as an opportunity for the world's two largest economies to reset dialogue after four years of combative ties under former President Donald Trump.

But the on-camera introduction for the talks descended into verbal jousting, with Chinese officials reacting angrily to Secretary of State Antony Blinken's listing of specific grievances including human rights abuses and territorial expansionism.

For their part, Chinese representatives criticized America's foreign adventurism and domestic human rights abuses.

Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan then stopped journalists being guided out of the room so they could reply to the Chinese charges on camera.

The Chinese delegation—led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and senior diplomat Yang Jiechi—later issued a statement condemning U.S. conduct. "The Chinese side came to Anchorage, Alaska with sincerity," the statement said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"However, when delivering opening remarks first, the U.S. side seriously overran the agreed time and provocatively launched groundless attacks and accusations against China's domestic and foreign policies," the delegation said.

"It is not the proper way of hosting guests, nor is it compatible with diplomatic protocol, and the Chinese side solemnly responded."

Chinese media was critical of Biden's team. Global Times—a fiercely nationalistic newspaper known for its combative stance on U.S. relations—said the Chinese delegation dealt "vigorous counterblows to condescending U.S. representatives."

"The two sides' hardline stances were still beyond the expectations of observers," Global Times said. "So far, the U.S.' aggressiveness and disregard for diplomatic protocol, and rapid and sharp counterattacks by the Chinese delegation, have made the world take notice," the newspaper said.

"The U.S. delegation attending the China-U.S. Alaska high-level meeting unjustifiably attacked and accused China's domestic and foreign policies and seriously prolonged its opening remarks," the article added, citing the Chinese delegation.

Global Times editor Hu Xijin said on Twitter: "China and the US have never blamed each other in such an open and unceremonious way. It shows the era in which the US can pretend it has enough power and morality to talk down to China is over. It must treat Beijing in an equal and respectful manner."

Elsewhere, China Daily offered a more hopeful interpretation of the initial Alaska exchanges, noting there remains a "faint" chance of diplomatic thaw.

But the state-owned newspaper added: "The Biden administration is hoping to use coercion and aggression to contain China's autonomy of action. And it is reinforcing these with an orchestrated campaign of character assassination."

"The U.S. needs to show that it is standing on the right side of history by engaging with China," China Daily said. "If Washington can regain its senses and accept that it is impossible for it to step in the same river twice, there is still the possibility that the two sides can have a candid, constructive and rational dialogue."

Blinken and Sullivan at China meeting Alaska
The U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, flanked by national security adviser Jake Sullivan, face their Chinese counterparts at the opening session of U.S.-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021. FREDERIC J. BROWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images