US Denies China 'Cold War' but Deep Gaps Persist
The United States on Friday insisted it was not pursuing a new "Cold War" with China, but the Pacific powers could only paper over deep differences during high-level talks. The defense chiefs and top foreign affairs officials of the two countries met in Washington for a regular dialogue that had been pushed back, amid months of spiraling tensions between the world's two largest economies.
After President Donald Trump's barbed comments against China in the runup to this week's congressional elections, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turned conciliatory in tone if not always in substance. "The United States is not pursuing a Cold War or containment policy with China," Pompeo told a joint news conference.
"Rather, we want to ensure that China act responsibly and fairly in support of security and prosperity in each of our two countries," Pompeo said. But Pompeo also was upfront about U.S. concerns. While the Trump administration has generally been soft-spoken on human rights, at least with allies, Pompeo denounced China's "repression" of religious and minority groups including the Uighur community, citing a U.N. report that up to one million members of the mostly Muslim ethnic group have been rounded up in detention camps.
And on Taiwan, while assuring his guests that the United States only recognizes Beijing, Pompeo was increasingly forthright in advocating for the self-ruling democracy, criticizing Beijing's efforts to isolate the island it considers a renegade province. The United States also took Beijing's military to task over its assertive posture in the dispute-rife South China Sea, which has witnessed a series of incidents, including the buzzing of a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft last year by a Chinese warplane.