THE EXPECTATION WAS that the advent of the Biden administration in the United States would lead to a change in tone if not substance in the US-China relationship.
The two-day meeting in Anchorage, the first high-level discussions since the departure of Donald Trump from the US presidency, has disabused that notion.
The exchanges were rancourous and public. They may, as some are suggesting, have primarily been intended on both sides for domestic consumption, but if so, it will have been for elite as much as popular domestic consumption.
The sessions held behind close doors were reportedly substantive, however.
Update: It appears that the exchanges are going down better back in China than back in the United States, where there is some surprise, at least among those not following the evolution of Beijing’s diplomacy regularly that the Joe Biden Thought on the New Era of US-China Relations could be so strident.
Nonetheless, the ferocity of the opening salvos do not bode well for the tenor of the relationship and thus for lifting it from it’s lowest ebb in decades.