This was the first engagement between senior American and Chinese officials since Joe Biden took office as US President. There is a lot of ground to cover here. So I've divided it into different sub-sections, starting from the developments earlier in the week, leading up to the meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.
2+2 & Sanctions
It was a tense week in many ways leading up to the meeting. On Tuesday, the US and Japan issued a joint statement after their 2+2 dialogue. The language was specifically critical of China. The statement contains the following paragraph on China’s behaviour:
"The United States and Japan acknowledged that China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military, and technological challenges to the Alliance and to the international community. The Ministers committed to opposing coercion and destabilizing behavior toward others in the region, which undermines the rules-based international system. They reaffirmed their support for unimpeded lawful commerce and respect for international law, includin
g freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea."
"The Ministers also expressed serious concerns about recent disruptive developments in the region, such as the China Coast Guard law. Further, they discussed the United States’ unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan under Article V of our security treaty, which includes the Senkaku Islands. The United States and Japan remain opposed to any unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo or to undermine Japan
’s administration of these islands. The Ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. They reiterated their objections to China’s unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea and recalled that the July 2016 award of the Philippines-China arbitral tribunal, constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, is final and legally binding on the parties. The Ministers shared serious concerns regarding the human rights situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region."
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