Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian. Source: KYODO/Reuters
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  • US-China relations are in a “stalemate”, according to China’s Foreign Ministry, after talks between high-level officials from each country this week
  • US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited China for a discussion with Chinese officials this week
  • The talks are seen as a precursor to a summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping slated for some time later this year
  • The US Department of State says Ms Sherman broached a range of concerns with the Chinese, such as human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong
  • China’s Foreign Ministry, however, told the US to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and painting China as an “imagined enemy”

The US and China have hit a “stalemate”, according to China’s Foreign Ministry, following talks between high-level officials from each country this week.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited China for the talks, which were seen as a precursor to a formal summit between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping slated for later this year.

The summit will mark the first face-to-face meeting between the US president and his Chinese counterpart since the Biden Administration took office in January.

Nevertheless, this week’s talks seemed to do little to sweeten the embittered relationship between the US and China which has only become worse over recent years.

A spokesperson for the US Department of State said Ms Sherman raised concerns with China’s Foreign Ministry about a range of issues from Beijing’s “anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong” and human rights abuses in Xinjiang to China’s stance on territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The US spokesperson also reiterated concerns about Beijing’s unwillingness to cooperate in a second round of investigations into the origins of COVID-19.

However, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said following the talks with Ms Sherman, China’s relationship with the US was now “in a stalemate and faces serious difficulties”.

He said some Americans portrayed China as an “imagined enemy” and hoped that in doing so, they could reignite a “sense of national purpose” in the US.

“The hope may be that by demonising China, the US could somehow shift domestic public discontent over political, economic and social issues, and blame China for its own structural problems,” Mr Xie said in a statement.

“It is as if when China’s development is contained, all US domestic and external challenges would go away, and America would become great again.”

He urged the US to change its “highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy” on China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian shared similar sentiments in a Monday press conference following the talks.

“China once again expressed strong dissatisfaction with the US side over its wrong words and deeds on issues relating to COVID-19 origin-tracing, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea,” Mr Zhao said.

“The US should never underestimate the strong resolution, determination and capability of the 1.4 billion Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.”

Nevertheless, amid calling for the US to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, Mr Zhao said the US-China talks were, on the whole, “profound, candid, and helpful”.

The US said it welcomed the “stiff competition” between the countries, but it did not seek conflict with China.

No specific agreements were made during the four-hour talk between the two nations.

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