BEIJING (Reuters) – The US secretary of state and China’s foreign minister on Sunday had what both described as frank and constructive talks on their differences from Taiwan to trade, but appeared to agree on little other than continuing the talks with a final meeting in Washington.
Speaking after a 5-1/2 hour meeting followed by dinner, the US and Chinese officials emphasized their desire for stable and predictable relations, but China was clear that it viewed Taiwan as the most important issue and greatest risk.
In the first visit by a US Secretary of State to China in five years, Anthony Blinken in his conversations with the Secretary of State stressed “the need to reduce the risks of misunderstanding and miscalculation.” Qin GangThe State Department said.
“Chen Gang pointed out that the Taiwan issue is the core of China’s core interests, the most important issue in Sino-US relations, and the most prominent risk,” Chinese state media quoted Chen as telling the top US diplomat.
Ahead of the talks, US officials saw little chance of any breakthrough in the long list of disputes between the world’s two largest economies, which range from trade and US efforts to rein in China’s semiconductor industry to the status of autonomous Taiwan and human rights in Beijing. register.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated across the board, prompting fears that they could one day clash militarily over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
Blinken’s visit was watched closely by the rest of the world as any escalation between great powers could have global ramifications on anything from financial markets to trade routes and practices to global supply chains.
Of particular concern to China’s neighbors is Beijing’s reluctance to engage in regular military talks with Washington.
In strikingly similar language, both sides said the talks were useful, with a US spokesperson describing them as “frank, objective and constructive” and Chinese state media calling them “frank, in-depth and constructive”.
However, they do not seem to have agreed beyond that Chen should visit Washington to continue the conversation at a time both sides found suitable but not to be determined.
However, both sides stressed the importance of facilitating the visit of their citizens, with Chinese state media saying they agreed to discuss increasing passenger flights and welcoming more students and businessmen.
UNCLEAR IF BLINKEN, Eleventh to Meet
Blinken, who postponed a trip to China in February after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over US airspace, is the highest-ranking US government official to visit since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
US officials and analysts expect Blinken’s visit to pave the way for more bilateral meetings between Washington and Beijing in the coming months, including possible trips by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. It could also pave the way for meetings between Xi and Biden at multilateral summits later in the year.
Chen Blinken and his group were greeted at the door of a villa on the grounds of the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, not inside the building as is usual.
The two had a short conversation as they entered, and Chen Blinken asked in English about his long journey from Washington. Then they shook hands in front of a Chinese and American flag.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying, who is attending the meeting, tweeted above a photo of Chen and Blinken shaking hands: “I hope this meeting will help bring Sino-US relations back to what the two presidents agreed on in Bali.”
Biden and Xi held their long-awaited first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 major economies summit in November on the Indonesian island of Bali, engaging in acrimonious talks on Taiwan and North Korea, but also pledging more frequent talks. communication.
During his stay through Monday, Blinken is also expected to meet China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and possibly President Xi Jinping.
Briefing US reporters after Sunday’s meetings, US officials declined to say whether Blinken will definitely meet Xi or when Chen might come to Washington.
“If there was one word I would use to describe the exchange, it would be ‘direct,’” said a senior State Department official. “Both sides have expressed a desire to stabilize the relationship and prevent competition between our two countries from spiraling into conflict.”
State media reported that China’s foreign minister told Blinken that China was committed to building a “stable, predictable and constructive” relationship with the United States.
US officials since last week have downplayed the possibility of a major breakthrough during the trip, but said Blinken’s primary goal was to create open and permanent channels of communication to ensure the two countries’ strategic rivalry did not degenerate into conflict.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *