The general consensus is that the top two Biden Administration officials — Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan — were outperformed in Alaska last week by their Chinese equivalents. The first, and so far as we know the most dramatic, example of Chinese showmanship came from Jang Jiechi, Beijing’s top foreign-policy official. Talking for nearly half an hour instead of the customary two minutes, Jang lambasted the Biden Administration’s human rights policy, and went on with a systematic demolition of its foreign policy “rules.”
In other words, the Chinese ran rings around the Americans, and let it be known that China, not the United States, would set the agenda of talks between the two superpowers. The historic role of Washinghton had thus been reversed, and the Americans would have to defend their record against Beijing’s criticisms.