Beijing: United States Secretary of State Anthony Blink He arrived in Beijing early Sunday on a high-stakes diplomatic mission to try to calm explosive tensions between the United States and China that have put many around the world on edge.
Blinken is scheduled to start two days of talks with senior Chinese officials this afternoon. He is the highest-ranking US official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office and the first secretary of state to make the trip in five years.
The trip comes after he postponed plans to visit in February after a Chinese observation balloon went down over the United States.
Still, the prospects for any significant progress on the most vexing issues facing the planet’s two largest economies are slim, as relations have already grown incrementally in recent years. Enmities and accusations steadily escalated due to a series of disputes that have repercussions on global security and stability.
Blinken plans to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Gang on Sunday, senior diplomat Wang Yi, and possibly President Xi Jinping on Monday, according to US officials.
Biden and Xi agreed on Blinken’s trip as early as last year’s meeting in Bali. It came within a day of happening in February, but was delayed by diplomatic and political turmoil sparked by the discovery that what the US says was a downed Chinese spy balloon flying across the US.
The list of potential disagreements and points of conflict is long: ranging from trade with Taiwan, human rights conditions in China to Hong Kongas well as China’s military assertiveness South China Sea For Russia’s war in Ukraine.
U.S. officials said before Blinken left Washington on Friday that he would raise both of them, though neither side has shown any inclination to back down from their positions.
Shortly before his departure, Blinken emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining better lines of communication between the United States and China. He told reporters that the United States wanted to make sure that “the competition that we have with China does not veer into conflict” because of avoidable misunderstandings.
Blinken said Friday that Biden and Xi have pledged to improve communications “specifically so that we can make sure that we communicate as clearly as possible to avoid potential misunderstandings and miscommunications.”
Xi offered a hint of a possible willingness to reduce tensions, saying in a meeting with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Friday that the United States and China could cooperate for the “benefit of our two countries.”
“I believe the foundation of China-US relations lies in the people,” Xi told Gates. “With the current global situation, we can carry out various activities that benefit our countries, the people of our countries, and the entire human race.”
Biden told White House reporters on Saturday that he “hopes that over the next several months, I will meet with Xi again and talk about the legitimate differences we have, but also how … to get along.” Opportunities may come at the G-20 leaders meeting in September in New Delhi and at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November in San Francisco hosted by the United States.
Since canceling Blinken’s trip in February, there have been some high-profile engagements. CIA chief William Burns traveled to China in May, while China’s commerce minister traveled to the United States, and Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Wang in Vienna in May.
But it was punctuated by outbursts of angry rhetoric from both sides over the Taiwan Strait, their broader intentions in the Indo-Pacific, China’s refusal to condemn Russia for its war against Ukraine, and US allegations from Washington that Beijing is trying to bolster the conflict. Surveillance capabilities around the world, including in Cuba.
And earlier this month, China’s defense minister turned down a request from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to hold a meeting on the sidelines of a security seminar in Singapore, in a sign of continued discontent.
Austin said on Friday he was confident he and his Chinese counterpart would meet “sometime, but we’re not there yet.”
Underlining the position, China has dismissed a report by a US security firm, which blamed hackers linked to China for attacks on hundreds of public agencies, schools and other targets around the world, as “far-fetched and unprofessional”.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman reiterated accusations that Washington carries out hacking attacks and complained the cyber security industry rarely reports on them.
It followed a similar response earlier in the week when China said Chen held a phone call with Blinken urging the US to respect “China’s core concerns” such as the issue of Taiwan’s autonomy and “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop harming China’s sovereignty.” China and its security and development interests in the name of competition.
Meanwhile, the national security advisers of the United States, Japan and the Philippines held their first joint talks on Friday and agreed to boost defense cooperation among themselves to counter China’s growing influence and ambitions.
This coincides with the Biden administration signing an agreement with Australia and Britain to supply the former with nuclear-powered submarines, with China moving quickly to expand its diplomatic presence, especially in the Indian Ocean and Pacific island countries, where it has opened or has plans to open at least five new embassies over the next year. .
The agreement is part of an 18-month-old nuclear partnership, with the acronym AUKUS – for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Speaking before Blinken left, two US officials played down hopes of major progress and stressed that the trip was intended to restore a sense of calm and normalcy to high-level contacts.
“We come to Beijing with a realistic and confident approach and a sincere desire to manage our competition in the most responsible way,” said Daniel Kreitenbrink, the top US diplomat for East Asia and the Pacific.
“Stiff competition requires intense diplomacy if we are to manage tensions,” said Kurt Campbell, senior Asia expert at the National Security Council. “This is the only way to clear up misconceptions, point out, communicate, and work together where and when our interests align.”


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