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No breakthrough in ‘candid’ US-China talks

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi after the talks said that they had "candid" discussions during the two-day conversation in Anchorage, Alaska, that saw sharp exchanges in front of media on each other's policies.

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New Delhi: The United States and China have indicated no major breakthrough in the first high-level in-person talks between their top diplomats in Alaska that ended on Friday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi after the talks said that they had “candid” discussions during the two-day conversation in Anchorage, Alaska, that saw sharp exchanges in front of media on each other’s policies.

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Blinken said he conveyed the “significant concerns” the US and its allies have about China’s actions and behaviour, and laid out US policies and priorities.

“We certainly know and knew going in that there are a number of areas where we are fundamentally at odds, including China’s actions in Xinjiang, with regard to Hong Kong, Tibet, increasingly Taiwan, as well as actions that it’s taken in cyberspace,” he told reporters, according to a State Department statement accessed here.

“And it’s no surprise that when we raised those issues clearly and directly, we got a defensive response,” Blinken added.

But the two sides had “a very candid conversation” over the hours on an expansive agenda and that their interests “intersect” on Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea and climate change.

“On economics, on trade, on technology, we told our counterparts that we are reviewing these issues with close consultation with Congress, with our allies and partners. And we will move forward on – in a way that fully protects and advances the interests of workers and our businesses,” he said.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US expected to have tough and direct talks on a wide range of issues, and “that’s exactly what we had.”

“We had the opportunity to lay out our priorities and intentions, and to hear from the Chinese side their priorities and intentions. We were clear-eyed coming in, we’re clear-eyed coming out, and we will go back to Washington to take stock of where we are.

“We’ll continue to consult with allies and partners on the way forward and, of course, on issues ranging from Iran to Afghanistan through the normal diplomatic channels. We’ll continue to work with China going forward,” Sullivan said.

Yang, director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission and member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the dialogue was “candid, constructive and helpful,” but there were “still some important differences between the two sides,” according to state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who also took part in the talks, said that China made it clear that sovereignty is a matter of principle and told the US not to underestimate China’s determination to defend it.

The Chinese delegation also said that the US should stop meddling in China’s “domestic affairs” including Hong Kong, and sought the removal of sanctions imposed in connection with moves which the US views as having undermined the autonomy of the territory, Xinhua said.

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