Cotton on China Meeting: ‘Chinese Delegation’s Behavior Was Completely Unacceptable’

Yang Jiechi (R), director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office for China and Wang Yi (L), China's Foreign Minister arrive for a meeting with US counterparts at the opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021. - China's actions "threaten …
FREDERIC J. BROWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined other Republicans in criticizing human rights violator China for denigrating America’s democratic ideals and its efforts to champion human rights during the first Beijing-Washington meeting under President Joe Biden Thursday.

“The Chinese delegation’s behavior was completely unacceptable,” Cotton, who sits on the Senate Committee on Armed Services and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote on Twitter Friday. “It’s time for the Biden administration to adopt a strategy to beat China.”

In his tweet, Cotton featured his March 17 editorial published by the National Review, in which he asserted, “It’s that well past time for aggressive political and economic steps to counter the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] threat.”

Referring to Thursday’s U.S.-China meeting in Alaska. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, added on Twiter Friday that Beijing “believes it can roll the Biden administration.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Yang Jiechi – a member of China’s Communist Party’s Politburo and the country’s top diplomat – and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi participated in the meeting.

During his opening remarks, Yang lectured his American counterparts on what they described as human rights violations on U.S. soil, adding that many people worldwide and in the United States have no faith in American democracy.

He urged the U.S. to let the world decide between America’s political system and China’s.

“We don’t believe in invading through use of force, topple other regimes, massacre people of other countries… Important for the U.S. to change own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” Yang said. “Many people in the U.S. have little confidence in U.S. democracy…”

“The challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter,” he added.

Reporters were supposed to leave after the opening remarks, but Sullivan reportedly waved them to stay, given that the Chinese officials, mostly Yang, spoke for more than the two minutes agreed.

“Given your extended remarks, let me add a few of my own,” Sullivan said, according to foreign affairs correspondents’ tweets. “It’s never a good bet to bet against America.”

“A confident country is able to look hard at its own shortcomings and constantly seek to improve,” Sullivan added.

Yang lambasted the U.S. officials for speaking condescendingly, adding that the media’s removal after the heated exchange proves that America does not support democracy.

“We will use the remaining hours [after the press left] to outline for Chinese delegation in private same messages delivered in public,” an unnamed Biden Administration official reportedly said. “Chinese delegation, on other hand, seems intent on grandstanding, focused on public theatrics and dramatics.”

Thursday’s meeting came soon after Blinken visited Asia to coalesce support against China, marking his first visit abroad. In Japan, the secretary of State warned that the U.S. would “push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.”

“We do not seek conflict, but we welcome stiff competition, and we will always stand up for our principles, for our people, and for our friends,” Blinken said Thursday.

During his opening remarks, Blinken vowed to hold China accountable for oppression against Hong Kong residents, what the United States has described as genocide of the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang, and cyberattacks against the U.S., among other things.

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