Earworm: U.S.-China High-Level Meeting “Soldiers Before Rites”?

Secretary of State John Blinken announces that the U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue is not the same as in the past, and that the U.S. will raise issues of concern to the U.S., including human rights in Xinjiang.

On the eve of the meeting, the State Department updated its report on the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, naming 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials who have undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy. Not to be outdone, the Chinese side took the opportunity of the UN Human Rights Council meeting on the same day to criticize the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in the United States. The U.S. side, on the other hand, announced in advance that the U.S.-China “Strategic Dialogue” was not the format of the past, that it was not a restart of a specific dialogue mechanism, or the beginning of a series of dialogues, and that the U.S. would raise issues of concern to the U.S., including human rights in Xinjiang, and that no joint statement would be issued after the meeting. The Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, also responded in a high-profile manner, stating clearly that China would not compromise on its core interests.

Prior to the U.S.-China encounter, the Washington government also made a number of “air-brushing” moves. Last Friday (March 12), U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Australian Prime Minister Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a two-hour Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) leaders’ summit by videoconference. Blinken also visited Asian allies Japan and South Korea for “2+2 talks” between foreign ministers and defense ministers, while Blinken took a “no-go” approach to the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese government has also told Beijing that the Communist Party can no longer bully Australia, otherwise all major measures to improve relations will be suspended!

But it is worth noting that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the former Canadian diplomat and businessman detained by the Chinese Communist Party, will be tried on Friday (19th) and next Monday (22nd) respectively. They will be tried on Friday (19) and Monday (22), respectively, on charges of “endangering the national security of the Chinese Communist Party. We’ll be watching to see if the outcome of this high-level U.S.-China meeting will affect their ultimate fate.