The US and China are deeply in the stalemate
The high-level US-China diplomatic talks in Tianjin failed to produce any results and the lack of signs of an imminent summit between the two heads of state hinted that bilateral relations appeared to be seriously bogged down important
US officials emphasized that Vice Secretary of State Wendy Sherman's trip to the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin to meet Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other Beijing officials on July 26 was an opportunity to ensure ensure that stiff competition between two geopolitical rivals does not lead to conflict.
However, the tough statements following Sherman's closed-door meetings with Wang and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng reflected the tone the two sides set in Alaska in March, when diplomatic negotiations were over. The first high-profile under US President Joe Biden to be overshadowed by harsh public criticism from both sides.
According to Reuters, although the Tianjin conference did not display the same level of external hostility as in Alaska, the two sides did not appear to actually negotiate anything, instead firmly pressing the established lists of demands. set up in advance.
Sherman pressured China over actions that Washington claimed were contrary to the rules-based international order, including over the South China Sea. In contrast, China gave the US two lists, one on the points that Beijing wants Washington to change and the other on issues Beijing attaches great importance to.
"I think it would be wrong to describe Washington as somehow seeking or soliciting Beijing's cooperation," a senior Biden administration official told reporters after the event, alluding to to global concerns such as climate change, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.
A second US official said it was up to "China to determine how ready it is to take the next step."
However, the Chinese foreign minister insisted that "the ball is in the US court". "In terms of respecting international rules, it is the US that needs to rethink," Wang stressed, and demanded that Washington lift all sanctions and tariffs against China. .
China's Foreign Ministry recently signaled that it may want preconditions for the US on any kind of cooperation. Some analysts see this stance as Beijing's recipe for diplomatic consolidation and that reduces prospects for improved bilateral relations.
According to Bonnie Glaser, Asia expert at the Marshall Fund of the United States, it is important for the two sides to maintain some form of engagement. Regrettably, however, the Tianjin conference failed to reach an agreement on further meetings or a mechanism for continued dialogue. This, Glaser believes, is likely to worry US allies and partners, who are hoping for more stability and predictability in the relationship between the world's two top economies.
Both Washington and Beijing are likely to be disappointed if they expect the other side to make concessions first in order to improve bilateral relations.
Among American foreign affairs workers, some expect President Biden to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Italy in October, the first time since he took office. take over the White House. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she hoped there would still be an opportunity for the two leaders to meet at some point, even if the Tianjin event was not successful.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the Biden administration may be able to scale up both executive actions affecting Beijing, such as blocking Iran's oil sales to China and coordination with China. allies against the mainland, including the Quad's plan to hold another summit between the US president and the leaders of Japan, Australia and India.
The White House also did not show a recent move to imply, it intends to ease the import tax measures on Chinese goods set up by the administration of former President Donald Trump.
In addition, the two sides seem unable to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19. Washington even accused Beijing of refusing to cooperate with the World Health Organization (WHO) to further investigate the origin of the virus as "irresponsible" and "dangerous".
There is also little signal that China is willing to cooperate with the US side on climate issues, a priority for Biden, despite enthusiastic calls from US special envoy John Kerry.
In short, according to researcher Eric Sayers of the American Enterprise Institute, the vice-ministerial meeting in Tianjin exposed how the US and China still differ greatly in how they view the value and role of foreign engagement. deliver.
The two countries also do not seem to see much benefit of further bilateral cooperation. Therefore, some analysts have very low expectations that the US and China will find common ground to break the current impasse and stabilize the relationship in the near future.