China’s state-run Global Times newspaper accused Vice President Kamala Harris of “disrespect,” “arrogance,” and possible “discrimination” on Tuesday after a video of her meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in showed her apparently wiping her hand on her clothes after shaking hands with Moon.
Kamala Harris is America’s first vice president of Asian descent.
Global Times did not note the common backgrounds of Harris and Moon in his tirade against Harris, who it accused of embodying “the U.S. contempt and hypocrisy toward its allies” with her gesture. The incident occurred following a joint press conference with Moon, which President Joe Biden did not attend. Moon appeared to end the press conference by offering his hand, which Harris took. She then appears to rub her hand on the bottom of her jacket and pants.
JUST IN: Vice President Kamala Harris meets with H.E. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea. pic.twitter.com/CwHC2bcxBI
— Forbes (@Forbes) May 21, 2021
“It may be just a tidbit, yet the episode mirrors some kind of U.S. mentality toward its allies — an insincere mind-set,” Global Times writer Ai Jun wrote. “If Washington treats Seoul as an equal with genuine sincerity, how could it possibly not know that its ally South Korea, like other East Asian countries, attaches great significance to social etiquette? Not to mention the move is disrespect in most cultures. Yet Harris did it in front of cameras.”
Ai allowed for the possibility that Harris suffered from a psychological condition in which she possessed “an irrational fear of dirt” or may have simply been ignorant on social etiquette.
“Yet if those are excluded, there would be one explanation left — the US is filled with the sense of superiority, and it simply looks down on, or even disdains, other countries automatically,” Ai nonetheless concluded.
“The U.S., which has been hailing and promoting ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’ all over the world, is itself a country full of discrimination. At home, its racial controversies never stop,” the article continued. “Abroad, it never regards its allies as real equal partners.”
The Chinese Communist Party regularly condemns alleged racism in the United States, often citing Marxist groups in the United States like Black Lives Matter. The Chinese government is currently conducting a genocide against the ethnic minority Uyghur people, native to China’s western Xinjiang region, which consists of, among other acts, the mass internment of millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps and sterilization of thousands, and potentially millions, of Uyghur women.
“For the U.S., allies, be they Japan or South Korea, may be crucial. But deep down in Washington’s heart, they are sidekicks which the U.S. could take advantage of, give orders, ignore diplomatic protocols and not care about their feelings,” the Global Times concluded. “When Biden stepped into the White House, he wowed [sic] to rebuild U.S. alliances. Unfortunately, his team seems to be no better than Trump’s in this regard.”
The Chinese state propaganda newspaper’s outrage at the incident did not match the positive tenor of coverage of Moon’s visit to Washington in South Korean media last week. Moon met with both Harris and Biden and left the meetings committing to multiple agreements on trade, technology, national security, and pandemic cooperation.
“The outcome of the talks couldn’t have been better. It was better than expected,” Moon said in a statement on social media upon his return to South Korea, according to the news agency Yonhap. Moon highlighted the fact that Biden committed to giving the South Korean military vaccines against the Chinese coronavirus and providing the country with thousands of doses for public use, calling the Biden offer “literally a surprise gift.” Biden also reassigned diplomat Sung Kim, at the Moon administration’s request, to serve as Special Envoy on North Korea. Sung is currently serving in Indonesia and has been deployed to work on several difficult diplomatic situations, most prominently appointed ambassador to the Philippines after that nation’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, unleashed a racist and homophobic profane rant against Sung’s predecessor, Philip Goldberg. In addition to having experience working on North Korean diplomacy, Sung is Korean-American and fluent in Korean, an asset when handling ties to North Korea’s racist communist regime.
The success of the Biden-Moon talks appears to have rankled China, their agreements included a statement on the nation of Taiwan and one on concerns regarding China’s colonization of the South China Sea. While Moon reportedly “signaled some support for the informal anti-China alliance headed by Washington with Australia, India and Japan,” the statements did not overtly mention China. China’s ambassador to Seoul nonetheless described the talks as “discouraging.”
“We feel it’s a bit discouraging. For instance, the issue of Taiwan was brought up,” Xing Haiming said Wednesday. “Of course, the South Korean side had explained this to us, but from our perspective, this is China’s internal affair.”
Xing complained Monday that, while “there was no mention of China,” Beijing still feels “targeted.”
“For instance, the Taiwan issue is an internal Chinese affair, but that was brought up. There exists no problem with the South China Sea as free transit is guaranteed. That’s a matter involving China and its neighboring countries,” Xing claimed. China does not recognize Taiwan as a country despite its complete independence from Beijing.