Political commenter affiliated with Chinese state media calls US outreach an ‘illusion’ ahead of Blinken visit

Trading barbs.

Yen Zhi Yi | June 14, 2023, 10:43 AM

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A state-affiliated Chinese social media account recently called the United States out for its supposed contradictory actions and for creating an illusion of its eagerness to engage with China.

Yuyuan Tantian is a Weibo user affiliated with China’s state broadcaster CCTV.

In an article published by Sina on Jun. 12, the user wrote that the U.S. strategy towards China this year has been like a “staged collision”.

Recent US-China developments

The article then talked about the upcoming visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China on Jun. 18, as reported by Reuters.

His trip was cancelled in February 2023 after the downing of an alleged “spy” balloon, causing tensions to rise once again.

The article called the balloon saga a “farce” and said that the request by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet China’s defence minister Li Shangfu was just a “carefully crafted” act, according to a translation by Reuters.

Previously, it was reported that China had declined their request for a meeting between the duo on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) held in Singapore.

Li was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018 sanctions for his acquisition of Russian military hardware.

China’s foreign ministry responded in a statement (May 31), saying that the U.S. should instead “correct wrong practice, show sincerity and create necessary atmosphere and conditions” for military-to-military dialogue to happen.

Shangri-La Dialogue

The article by Yuyuan Tantian also mentioned the handshake between Austin and Li at the SLD held over the previous weekend.

The user then called out the former’s remarks about how a handshake cannot substitute engagement, perhaps pointing to the U.S.' inconsistent attitude, and accused the U.S. of painting China as a security threat to the Asia-Pacific.

"Every time they say they want to meet, the United States would play a role and create the false illusion that it is eager to communicate while at the same time repeatedly testing and provoking China's fundamental principles," it wrote, according to the Reuters translation.

Claiming that the U.S. was the one instigating tensions,  the user also said China viewed the skies and the seas as "big enough" to accommodate both big powers, echoing the point made by Li in his speech at SLD.

More spying allegations

The comments by the Chinese social media user came shortly after the White House claimed that China had a spy base in Cuba since 2019, according to Wall Street Journal.

Cuba and China later denied the claims, while Blinken said that the Trump administration had not done enough to address the upgrading of spying facilities, Reuters and Nikkei Asia reported.

He added that U.S. President Joe Biden told his officials to directly approach governments that were contemplating hosting Chinese intelligence bases.


Top images via Weibo/内幕live_9zov & Getty - Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency