Secretary Antony J. Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Statements to the Press
MARCH 19, 2021
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good morning, everyone. I just have a couple of things to say. Jake and I spent several hours in conversation with our Chinese counterparts over the last couple of days. And we certainly know and knew going in that there are a number of areas where we are fundamentally at odds, including China’s actions in Xinjiang, with regard to Hong Kong, Tibet, increasingly Taiwan, as well as actions that it’s taken in cyberspace.
And it’s no surprise that when we raised those issues clearly and directly, we got a defensive response. But we were also able to have a very candid conversation over these many hours on an expansive agenda. On Iran, on North Korea, on Afghanistan, on climate, our interests intersect. On economics, on trade, on technology, we told our counterparts that we are reviewing these issues with close consultation with Congress, with our allies and partners. And we will move forward on – in a way that fully protects and advances the interests of workers and our businesses.
But just to take a step back for a moment, the two things that we wanted to do in coming here and meeting with our Chinese counterparts: first, we wanted to share with them the significant concerns that we have about a number of the actions that China’s taken and the behavior it’s exhibiting – concerns shared by our allies and partners. And we did that. We also wanted to lay out very clearly our own policies, priorities, and worldview, and we did that too.
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SULLIVAN: Thanks, everybody. As the Secretary said, we expected to have tough and direct talks on a wide range of issues, and that’s exactly what we had. We had the opportunity to lay out our priorities and intentions, and to hear from the Chinese side their priorities and intentions. We were clear-eyed coming in, we’re clear-eyed coming out, and we will go back to Washington to take stock of where we are. We’ll continue to consult with allies and partners on the way forward and, of course, on issues ranging from Iran to Afghanistan through the normal diplomatic channels. We’ll continue to work with China going forward.
So we thank you all for the time you’ve taken here, and we look forward to getting down to business and to advancing the interests and values of America.