Top U.S. and Chinese officials will meet in Anchorage, Alaska next week, the State Department announced on Wednesday. The two days of talks will be the first in-person meeting between senior representatives of the two global powers since President Joe Biden took office in January.
While in Alaska, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the president’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, a member of the Politburo, the Chinese Communist Party’s top decision-making body.
In a written statement, State Department spokesman Ned Price announced the meeting planned for Thursday and Friday next week but did not elaborate on the issues that the group would discuss.
“The meeting will take place following Secretary Blinken’s meetings with two of our closest regional allies in Tokyo and Seoul. Secretary Blinken and NSA Sullivan will discuss a range of issues with the” People’s Republic of China, Price said. “Secretary Blinken will return to Washington, D.C. on March 19.”
Blinken’s trip to Tokyo and Seoul next week will be his first trip abroad as the United States’ chief diplomat.
Despite the vagueness from the department’s statement, it is worth noting that a senior administration official reportedly told The Wall Street Journal some of the issues that will be on the agenda.
“The goal will be to compare notes on what each of our hopes and plans are for domestic politics, what our goals are internationally, regionally and globally,” the official reportedly told the newspaper. Topics will include the pandemic, climate change, and issues of disagreement including China’s stance on Hong Kong and pressure on Taiwan, and the “undeclared economic embargoes” China has placed on Australia, the official said, according to The Journal.
U.S.-China relations became more tense under the Trump administration, which ramped up a trade war between two of the world’s foremost economic powerhouses and sought to bar Chinese technology companies like Huawei from doing business in the U.S. and to defend the theft of U.S. intellectual property.
In February, Blinken and Yang talked over the phone for the first time and touched on a range of issues. While the Secretary of State underscored human rights and the ongoing military coup in Myanmar, his counterpart urged the U.S. to respect China’s sovereignty.
Also last month, during Biden’s first call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the U.S. President expressed concerns regarding a slate of issues ranging from Hong Kong to China’s repression of Uighur Muslims, a White House readout after the call stated, per The Hill.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the authoritarian regime’s actions against the group a “genocide” on January 19, his last full day in the role, and this made the U.S. the first country to formally do so. Legislatures in Canada and the Netherlands followed suit. Moreover, Blinken has said he agrees with the genocide designation made by Pompeo.
“Of course, there’ll be a range of engagements that the President and his National Security team will have with China and other countries in the region in the months and years ahead, but we are directly engaged,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday when asked about reports of a potential meeting, per The Hill.
“There are a range of issues we, of course, have talked with the Chinese about through those engagements. We don’t hold back about our concerns, but we also look for opportunities to work together,” Psaki added.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world
China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.
Key findings of the report are below.
“Persuaded to return”
According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.
Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.
The Nine Forbidden Countries
China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.
According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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