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Biden ‘proud’ of Biinken after prickly exchange with Chinese officials

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“I’m very proud of the Secretary of State,” Biden said when asked by South Lawn reporters about his reaction to the first day of talks, which began Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska, with a dazzling exchange that would continue Friday.

The extraordinary interaction unfolded before reporters at the start of Thursday’s meetings when Chinese officials ignored the protocol to refute Blinken’s description of Washington’s “deep concerns” about some of China’s actions and to criticize loudly the United States, the state of its democracy, and national racial tensions. Blinken then brought the cameras back into the room to offer his own unwritten rebuttal from Chinese officials.

In the evening, the Chinese had accused the US delegation of being “condescending” in its tone, while a US official said Beijing representatives seemed “intent on overcoming it”.

The president’s endorsement sends a strong signal to the Chinese that the tone of Thursday’s meeting – a strong US critique of China’s behavior at the national level in places like Xinjiang and abroad – as well as Blinken’s retreat – has the full support of the administration and that American officials speak with one voice.

While the Biden administration marks this line, in part an attempt to clearly distinguish itself from the Trump administration’s less united approach to Beijing, they have also repeatedly stressed that they are willing and willing to work with China in areas of mutual interest and concern.

In camera and after the public shock, a senior administration official said, “After spraying the pool, Secretary Blinken opened the discussion and the two sides immediately set to work,” and add that the first conversation session “was substantive, serious, and direct.”

“We used the session, as we had planned, to outline our interests and priorities, and we heard the same from our Chinese counterparts,” they said.

“In fact, the discussion went far beyond the two hours we had allocated,” the official said in a press release.

The two sides held a second round of talks on Thursday evening, with a third and final session scheduled for Friday.

CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

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