October 7, 2021 On Wednesday (October 6) local time, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held talks with Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, in Switzerland. Reuters said that shortly after the talks, a senior U.S. government official stated that the United States and China had reached an agreement in principle that U.S. President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping would hold an online meeting before the end of the year. This is the result of a series of diplomatic confrontations between China and the United States since Biden took office. Regarding the online meeting between the two heads of state, White House Spokesperson Psaki told reporters, “We are still studying the format, timing, and of course the final details of the meeting, which have yet to be finalized.” Reuters quoted a senior U.S. official as saying, “In general, today’s dialogue is the most meaningful and substantive contact we have had so far at the level of the head of state.” The official added that Washington hopes that this meeting will become a “model for future contacts,” but this meeting should not be seen as the unfreezing of relations between the two countries. The White House statement stated that Sullivan mentioned US concerns about some Chinese actions, including human rights, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, South China Sea and Taiwan issues. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China stated in a statement that Yang Jiechi expounded China’s solemn position on Taiwan-related, Hong Kong-related, Xinjiang-related, Tibet-related, maritime-related, and human rights issues, and requested the United States to stop using these issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs. Confrontation, competition and cooperation In May of this year, Brinken said in an interview with the American CBS television station “60 Minutes” that there are three ways to deal with issues involving China: confrontation, competition and cooperation. The separation of US-China relations into these three categories has been a consistent feature of the Biden administration’s stance towards China since it took office. Brinken has previously stated that the US policy towards China is to “compete in areas that should be competitive, cooperate in areas that can be cooperated, and confront in areas that must be confronted.” However, compared to “confrontation” and “cooperation,” “competition” seems to be a better summary of the US policy toward China from the perspective of the United States. In February of this year, shortly after taking office, Biden said in an interview with American media CBS that the United States does not need to “conflict” with China, but that it must engage in “extremely fierce competition.” The term “competition” has thus entered the narrative of US relations with China. This is regarded by public opinion as a callback to the tough attitude towards China in the Trump era. There is also a view that there are phased considerations regarding what policy the US adopts towards China. An Gang, a guest researcher at the Center for Strategic and Security Studies at Tsinghua University, wrote an article that Biden is different from Trump in setting up a “bordered strategic competition framework” and doing four things: – Clean up the “legacy” of the Trump administration’s China policy; – Promote global strategic contraction, withdraw actual forces from the Middle East and Afghanistan, and concentrate on implementing an upgraded version of the “Indo-Pacific Strategy”; – Under the banner of values and multilateralism, coordinate China policy with allies and partner countries; – Put the response to climate change at the top of the China-US cooperation basket. An Gang believes that the above can be counted as the “first half” of Biden’s China policy; in the “second half” the U.S. Congress will review the sinister China-related bills on a fast track, and the Biden administration and congressmen from both parties have rushed into it. “Contend against China and win the competition.” At the same time, the trade issues and the Taiwan issue that have not been touched in the “first half” will inevitably become the main axis in the second half. Diplomatic confrontation this year Since Biden took office in January this year, the Chinese and American governments have contacted China, and the talks between officials of the two countries have hardly made substantial progress. The first contact was in Alaska in March. Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the meeting on behalf of China. The representatives of the United States are Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Sullivan. The high-ranking officials of the two countries spoke with each other, and Brinken described the dialogue after the meeting as “difficult and direct.” Some people believe that this world-focused conference not only failed to “break the ice” for Sino-US relations, it also seems to indicate that bilateral relations have entered an “ice age.” Some analysts also believe that the “hardness” of the U.S. and Chinese representatives in front of the media cameras is actually the driving force behind their respective domestic political needs. In the United States, being tough on China has become a rare issue that can unite the two parties; in China, “stand up to the United States” is also a political orientation that can mobilize public opinion. Three months later, on June 11, Blinken and Yang Jiechi talked on the phone, and it seemed that there was no more progress. Brinken emphasized the importance of cooperation and transparency on the issue of virus traceability. In addition, he expressed concern about the issues of Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan. Yang Jiechi responded one by one, calling on the US to “respect facts and science and not politicize the issue of traceability. “; Urges the US to abide by the one-China principle and handle Taiwan-related issues prudently and properly. Three months later, on September 9, US President Biden had a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The New York Times called the phone call “breaking the U.S.-China diplomatic deadlock.” The White House statement stated that the two leaders had “extensive strategic discussions,” which not only discussed the intersecting interests of the two sides, but also touched on areas where “interests, values, and opinions differed.” “They agreed to deal with both types of issues openly and candidly.” National Public Radio (NPR) quoted a senior government official as saying that the call was initiated by Biden, and the call originated from the US government’s reluctance to “conduct serious or substantive dialogues with Chinese officials at lower levels.” “Disappointment. On September 21, Biden delivered a speech at the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York. In the half-hour-long speech, Biden never mentioned “China” directly. However, he said that the United States does not seek a “new Cold War” or a world divided into different groups. Not seeking a “new cold war” was received by China as a positive signal. Then, this Wednesday (October 7), Sullivan and Yang Jiechi held a closed-door meeting in an airport hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. Both Beijing and Washington stated that the six-hour meeting was constructive and frank. The United States stated that the atmosphere of the meeting was very different from that in Alaska. During the talks, Yang Jiechi stated that China values President Biden’s recent positive statements on Sino-US relations. He noted that the US has expressed no intention of containing China’s development and will not engage in a “new cold war”. He hopes that the US will adopt a rational and pragmatic policy toward China and work with China. Respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and follow the path of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation between China and the United States. The aforementioned White House official said, “We are trying to achieve a stable state between the United States and China. In this state, we can engage in fierce competition, but we must manage this competition responsibly.”