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Fireworks in Alaska May Signal What Lies Ahead

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, center speaks at the opening session of US-China talks.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, center speaks at the opening session of US-China talks.

Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

While nobody expected the first U.S.-China meeting after Donald Trump’s presidency to be a lovefest, the unusually vitriolic start to talks in Alaska still managed to surprise.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reeled off a list of sensitive issues in his opening statement yesterday and called China a threat to “the rules-based order that maintains global stability.” Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi laced into the U.S. in reply, calling it the “champion” of cyber attacks and citing the Black Lives Matter protests in telling Washington to “do better on human rights.”