Last week’s meeting of senior U.S. and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, began with a fiery exchange—one that likely will set the tone for bilateral relations in the coming years. In public remarks, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan raised concerns over China’s human-rights practices and its undermining of a so-called rules-based order in international affairs. In response, the Chinese delegation took aim at the state of U.S. democracy and accused their counterparts of hypocrisy and condescension.
These exchanges offer a window into how U.S.-China relations will look under a Biden administration after four turbulent years under former President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden and his team seem determined to approach Beijing from a frame of great power competition. In contrast with Trump, however, that competition seems likely to extend beyond conventional arenas such as military capabilities, trade relations, and diplomatic engagement, and into the more abstract realm of values.
The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy.
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