China has blamed the US for what it calls a “stalemate” in bilateral relations as high-level face-to-face talks begin in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
Vice foreign minister Xie Feng urged the US “to change its highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy” in comments carried by Chinese state media.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Mr Xie as telling US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman that the China-US relationship is in a stalemate because some Americans portray China as an “imagined enemy”.
America’s second-most senior diplomat is discussing the fraught relationship between the countries in separate meetings with Mr Xie and foreign minister Wang Yi at a resort hotel in the city of Tianjin.
Relations between the countries deteriorated sharply under US president Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, and the two sides remain at odds over a host of issues including technology, cybersecurity, human rights and other issues.
Mr Xie said China wants to seek common ground while shelving differences.
The Biden administration has said it will cooperate in some areas but confront China in others, such as human rights, describing the relationship as collaborative, competitive and adversarial.
Mr Wang accused the US of adopting a superior attitude and using its strength to pressure other countries.
“China would never accept any country that claims to be superior to others,” he told China’s Phoenix Television.
“If the US has not learned to treat other countries equally, China and the international community have the responsibility to help the US learn how to do this.”
Biden administration officials have said the goal of the talks is not to negotiate specific issues but to keep high-level communications channels open.
The US wants to ensure that measures are in place to prevent competition between the countries from becoming conflict, they said.
A possible meeting between Mr Biden and Chinese president Xi Jinping is expected to be on the agenda, possibly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome at the end of October.
Ms Sherman, who arrived on Sunday evening from Mongolia, tweeted “heartfelt condolences (from the United States) to those who have lost loved ones” in severe storms and flooding last week that killed at least 63 people in Henan province.
Her meetings follow an initial and highly contentious meeting in March in Anchorage, Alaska, where Mr Wang and veteran Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi flew to meet US secretary of state Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
John Kerry, the Biden administration’s special climate envoy, has travelled to Shanghai for meetings with his Chinese counterpart in April.