Talks with China were ‘tough and direct,’ senior US official

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The first talks between President Joe Biden’s administration and China were “tough and direct” but found some areas where the rival superpowers’ interests coincide, US diplomats said Friday after their meetings ended.

The broad-based talks opened with fireworks Friday as the top diplomats from both sides castigated the other for aggressive actions that were disruptive to global stability.

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After three sessions Thursday and early Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the American side was candid about its concerns over Beijing’s behavior toward Hong Kong and Taiwan and its actions in cyberspace.

The Chinese side was defensive as expected, he said.

“But we were also able to have a very candid conversation over these many hours on an expansive agenda,” said Blinken.

“On Iran, on North Korea. On Afghanistan on climate, our interests intersect.”

The talks, two months into the administration of US President Joe Biden, were set up as an exchange of views, and no agreements of pacts were expected.

“We expected to have tough and direct talks on a wide range of issues, and that’s exactly what he had,” said White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

“We are clear-eyed coming out, and we will go back to Washington to take stock of where we are,” he said.

“We’ll continue to consult with allies and partners on the way forward.”

Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi said the talks were ‘candid, constructive, helpful’ after the two-day meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, according to Chinese state media Xinhua.

Read more: US, China spar in first face-to-face meeting under Biden

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