China Hails ‘Useful’ U.S. Talks, Calls for More Discussions

China on Monday described the first face-to-face meeting with the U.S. as “useful” and called for more discussions after an tense start to the talks last week in Alaska.

“It was a timely and useful dialogue that enhanced mutual understanding,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing. “Both hope to continue this kind of high level strategic communication,” she added.

The talks in Alaska started off with an unusually testy exchange, with both sides accusing the other of breaching diplomatic protocol during opening statements.

After U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned a host of human rights issues that Washington was troubled by, Politburo member Yang Jiechi accused his hosts of running a flawed democracy and said the U.S. “isn’t qualified to speak to China from a position of strength.”

Hua said Monday the U.S. “should not underestimate China’s determination” to defend its interests when it comes to territorial disputes and sovereignty issues.

Still, she said, the two sides reached a consensus to form a working group on climate change, while also planning more discussions and coordination on issues such as journalist visas, trade, cyber security, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

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