I don’t know whether this report by Lingling Wei in the Wall Street Journal indicates a change in tone by the Chinese leadership, a change in reporting by the U. S. press, or differences in personal styles between individuals and with relationships between individuals:
NEW YORK—China’s new envoy to the U.S. struck a conciliatory note upon his arrival in Washington on Wednesday, pledging to repair the increasingly testy relationship between the two world powers days after Chinese Foreign Ministry officials greeted a visiting senior State Department official with a chilly lecture on diplomacy.
Qin Gang, a veteran diplomat and trusted aide to President Xi Jinping, said in remarks posted on the website of China’s embassy in the U.S. that he will “endeavor to bring China-U.S. relations back on track, turning the way for the two countries to get along with each other…from a possibility into a reality.”
His tone contrasted sharply with the tense exchange between senior Chinese and U.S. diplomats in the port city of Tianjin on Monday, when a Chinese vice foreign minister gave U.S. Deputy Secretary of the State Wendy Sherman an earful, saying Washington was entirely to blame for the souring bilateral relationship.
The more placating remarks by Mr. Qin—in which he said he would “seek to build bridges of communication and cooperation with all sectors of the U.S.”–show that Beijing still hopes to reset relations with Washington—but on its own terms.
In a commentary that roughly coincided with Mr. Qin’s remarks, China’s official Xinhua News Agency urged the U.S. to “discard its habitual bullying of China.”
Relations between the U.S. and China have continued to deteriorate after having plummeted during the Trump administration. President Biden has been trying to build alliances to confront a more self-confident and assertive China on issues as diverse as human rights, technology and geopolitics, while Mr. Xi is intent on reshaping the relationship as one between two head-on competitors.
I agree with Churchill. Talking is better than the alternative. I just wish that more Americans including American diplomats recognized that China has its interests, we have ours, they rarely coincide and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. We should worry less about China pursuing its own interests and devote more attention to pursuing our own. Spoiler alert: those aren’t always the same as Apple’s or Walmart’s.