‘Don’t over-extend your Alaskan King Crab legs’, China tells the U.S.

2021 March US-China meeting in Alaska (photo from CNN mixed with a picture of the famous Alaskan King Crab which is well known for long legs)

At least five important points can be noted beyond the hostile exchange of words between the two sides during the Alaska meeting (BBC 2021 March 20 ‘US and China trade angry words at high-level Alaska talks’).

First, Yang Jiechi, the leader of this team, who has been well known as a heavy-weight figure on the Pigeon camp in Beijing, is for the first time voicing out angry rhetoric in such a high profile. It represents a new milestone: Beijing has formed an internal consensus that it should enter into a new stage of openly confront Washington whenever and wherever necessary.

Second, the Chinese criticism of the ethnic problems etc inside the U.S. surprisingly caused the U.S. diplomats to commit a self-defeating mistake, again***. To a diplomat during a talk of negotiation, it is both unnecessary and unwise to admit domestic problems in front of the counterparty, even though it is rebutted that the U.S. political system could rectify the problems itself. The U.S. has since that moment lost its advantages of occupying the moral high ground.

(*** The first self-defeating mistake was to disclose an intelligence report to say that Saudi Crown Prince Salman approved an action to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 (CNBC Feb 26). It has caused a throne succession problem in Saudi Arabia and made White House almost impossible to endorse the Prince if he would really assume the kingship in future. See my fourth point below …)

Third, the target audience of the Chinese diplomats’ “angry words” includes at least four categories:

[a] the Chinese people on the mainland, for the purpose of preparing them that something has to be done or sacrificed to confront the hegemonic USA;

[b] China’s allies, for the purpose of assuring them that Beijing is willing and able to seek a level playing field with the USA;

[c] USA’s allies, for the purpose of warning them that not even Washington (their Big Brother) could extort China;

[d] the governments of various developing countries who are still observing, for the purpose of assuring them that China is determined to play a new game based on the rules of the United Nations, not the rules of the USA.

Fourth, according to the post-talk wordings of both sides (Reuters March 20), there are very few areas where cooperation can continue to take place, namely, North Korea, the Middle East, bilateral trade and climate change. More realistically speaking, there is actually none. While China is strengthening its own domestic economic dynamics to sustain growth, thus less reliance on trade with the U.S., the unstable Middle East (see second point* above) will become a highly competitive arena between the two powers alongside Russia, Turkey and France.

Fifth, the open brawl at such a high level diplomatic meeting means that Beijing is sufficiently confident and militarily ready to dare to end the diplomatic path for peaceful solutions in case of concrete U.S. intervention into China’s sovereign areas, namely, PRC Taiwan Province, Hong Kong SAR, as well as the Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous Regions.

By portraying in an animated way, what the Chinese diplomats said was : “Alaskan King Crab, do not over-extend your long legs into my territory!”

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China News.

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Categories: Politics & Law

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  1. ‘Don’t over-extend your Alaskan King Crab legs’, China tells the U.S. - The Washington County Auditor

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