Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got an earful from senior Chinese officials during a five-hour visit to Beijing on Monday, effectively becoming the whipping boy in the increasingly acrimonious relationship between the two governments.
Pompeo is the most senior official to meet with his Chinese counterparts since President Trump accused Beijing of interfering in November's midterm elections, and Vice President Pence gave a vitriolic speech charging Beijing with seeking to undermine U.S. interests across the globe.
He felt the full force of the dispute during meetings with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, a Politburo member who has long dealt with bilateral relations.
In the first round, Wang told Pompeo that the Trump administration's recent actions against China have "directly impacted our mutual trust and cast a shadow over our bilateral relations."
Pompeo is on a whistle-stop tour around Asia mainly focused on North Korea's nuclear program, but upon arrival in Beijing, the agenda swiftly pivoted to the burgeoning dispute between the world's two biggest economies, sparked by Trump's trade war and fueled by his allegations that the Chinese government is "interfering" in next month's midterm elections.
"We urge the U.S. to stop such misguided activities," Wang said, casting the sudden deterioration in the relationship in surprisingly undiplomatic terms. He cited the "escalation" of trade friction, favorable treatment of Taiwan and "criticizing China's internal and external policies."
"We believe that we need to keep our relationship on the right track," a stern-faced Wang told his American counterpart.
At Pompeo's second meeting, Yang protested the "unwarranted actions from the U.S. side" and said that China "will take all necessary measures to safeguard" itself against anything the United States might do. He did, however, strike a slightly more conciliatory tone, urging the United States to expand cooperation and "meet China halfway."
The secretary of state responded by saying that Washington and Beijing were stuck in a "fundamental disagreement" that he hoped they could make some progress on resolving. He lamented Beijing's recent decision not to attend the strategic dialogue between the two countries' defense secretaries planned for the middle of this month, saying that the forum is an "important opportunity" for discussion.
It appeared that President Xi Jinping, who met Pompeo during the American's visit in June, decided to snub him this time. There previously had been slots in the schedule for three meetings, but Pompeo had only two.
Separately, it emerged that Xi would soon make his first visit as president to North Korea. He will visit "soon," South Korean President Moon Jae-in told a cabinet meeting Monday.
Pompeo tried to focus on North Korea's denuclearization during his meetings Monday, an issue China and the United States generally agree on, even if they differ on how to get there.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.