White House: U.S.-China high-level dialogue will have no joint statement, not avoiding sensitive issues

The U.S.-China High-Level Dialogue will be held in Alaska this Thursday (March 18). Senior U.S. officials said the main purpose of the talks is a frank exchange of views, not an attempt to reach consensus, and that the U.S. is concerned about the Communist Party’s heavy-handed measures in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang and expansionist activities in the South China Sea.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said some of the topics in the meeting are expected to be difficult, but the Biden administration will not shy away from certain issues, with a particular focus on human rights, the economy and science and technology; she stressed that the meeting is not expected to establish regular talks between the two countries, nor will a joint statement be issued.

Senior Biden Administration officials noted that it is most important for the U.S. side to show the Chinese side that the Biden team’s strategy toward China is consistent, and that Secretary of State Blinken and White House national security adviser Sullivan’s joint participation in the meeting is to show unity and remind the Chinese Communist Party not to try to exploit the contradictions between different factions of the Biden administration so that it can reap the benefits.

In an interview with the BBC, Sun Yun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank, said the Alaska meeting is not expected to “reset” U.S.-China relations and is more likely to be a reaffirmation of positions and expressions of concern about each other’s policies.

China defined the Alaska meeting as a “high-level strategic dialogue between the United States and China,” but Secretary of State Blinken denied the term “strategic dialogue” and clarified that the U.S. side has no plans for a follow-up meeting between the two countries at a high level.

In a joint statement, the two sides accused the Chinese Communist Party of violating the international order and posing significant challenges on many fronts, and that the U.S. and Japan need to work together to build a secure and resilient supply chain and strengthen the bulwark against the Chinese Communist Party.