The rivalry between the U.S. and China is likely to persist for some time after both countries set demands for each other that are “unreachable,” a political analyst told CNBC on Tuesday. Comments by Scott Kennedy of Washington D.C.-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies came after officials from the two countries concluded high-level meetings in the Chinese city of Tianjin on Monday.
At the meetings, Chinese officials presented U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman with two lists of demands and three “bottom lines.” The Chinese requests include asking the U.S. to “correct its errors” such as by withdrawing its extradition request of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, not obstructing China’s development and not infringing upon Chinese sovereignty.
China is essentially asking the U.S. not to pay attention to what’s happening in China and “just let China do whatever it wants,” said Kennedy, who is senior advisor and trustee chair in Chinese business and economics at CSIS. During the Tianjin meetings, Sherman raised concerns about Chinese actions that “run counter to our values and interests and those of our allies and partners, and that undermine the international rules-based order,” the U.S. State Department said.
Those issues include alleged human rights abuses by China in regions such as Xinjiang and Hong Kong, as well as Beijing’s aggressive behavior in the disputed South China Sea. China considers matters in Xinjiang and Hong Kong as “internal affairs,” and claims activity in the South China Sea as its sovereign right. Beijing claims nearly the entire contested water as its territory, even though a landmark international arbitration court ruling in The Hague rejected those claims in 2016.