BEIJING – US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken kicks off the second and final day of high-profile meetings with Chinese officials as both countries show willingness to talk but bend hardened positions amid heightened tensions showed little intention.
Blinken had met with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, this morning, and was also scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping before departing later tonight.
Neither Brinken nor Wang made any comments as they greeted reporters and sat down to discuss them.
On the first day of talks on Sunday, talks between Mr. Blinken’s delegation and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang lasted seven and a half hours, well ahead of schedule, officials said. Qin accepted Brinken’s invitation to visit Washington at a “mutually appropriate time” as a further signal that the two countries see the meeting as a path to closer ties, according to the State Department. .
“The secretary emphasized the importance of diplomacy and maintaining open communication channels across all issues to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations,” the US conference report said. “The secretary has raised a number of issues of concern,” he said, without specifying what they were.
Both sides announced that Mr. Qin had accepted Mr. Blinken’s invitation to visit Washington. These sentiments are widely shared by U.S. officials.
The State Department said Mr. Blinken emphasized “the importance of diplomacy and maintaining open communication channels across all issues to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations.”
On the other hand, the Chinese side reiterated its position that the current state of relations “does not serve the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, nor does it meet the common expectations of the international community,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The US evaluated the meeting as “frank, substantive and constructive.” State-run China Central Television used similar language, calling it “frank, deep and constructive”.
A senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that Mr. Brinken and Mr. Hata did not simply read each other’s points. The official said the conversation was extensive and substantive.
Despite Mr. Blinken’s presence in the Chinese capital, there is little prospect of significant progress on the most vexing problem facing the planet’s two largest economies.
And neither side showed any tendency to withdraw its firm position.
Brinken was planning to visit China in February, but the trip was called off at the last minute when the United States revealed that a Chinese reconnaissance balloon was flying over U.S. territory. The incident prompted China to accuse the United States of “hysteria.” In a description of the conversation, CCTV said it hoped the US would “handle the accident in a calm, professional and rational manner.”
The meeting could pave the way for a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Mr. Xi in the coming months. Biden said on Saturday that he hopes to meet with Xi in the coming months to discuss the many differences that divide the two countries.
That long list includes disagreements ranging from trade with Taiwan, the human rights situation between China and Hong Kong, China’s military claims in the South China Sea, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
At Sunday’s meeting, Mr. Blinken put pressure on China to release American citizens in custody and take steps to curb production and exports of the fentanyl precursor fueling the US opioid crisis.
“The United States has made it clear that it will always defend the interests and values of the American people and work with allies and partners to advance its vision of a world that is free, open and upholds the international rules-based order,” said Blinken. ‘ said the State Department.
China’s foreign ministry said in a statement, “China hopes that the United States will have an objective and reasonable view of China, will cooperate with China in the same direction, will adhere to the political foundation of China-US relations, and the unexpected sporadic I want to deal with such incidents,” he countered. Be calm, professional and reasonable. “
Just before leaving Washington, Brinken stressed the importance of establishing and maintaining better lines of communication between the United States and China.
Mr. Blinken said on Friday that Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi had promised to improve communication “to ensure that communication is as clear as possible to avoid misunderstandings and possible misunderstandings.”
In a meeting with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Friday, Mr. Xi said the United States and China could work together “to the benefit of both sides,” suggesting he may be willing to de-escalate tensions.
The main purpose of this visit was to help establish communication channels at the ministerial and undersecretary level, so that the United States and China do not always act in distrust, and today’s talks will achieve that. said the official.
Blinken’s visit is slowly gaining momentum after the balloon incident derailed attempts by Biden and Xi (who met in Bali, Indonesia, late last year) to establish a more stable relationship. It is part of a new wave of US-China engagement across the board. bilateral relations way. “I hope to see Mr. Xi again in the next few months,” Biden said on Saturday.
Several high-level talks have taken place since Mr Blinken’s visit was canceled in February. CIA Director William Burns visited China in May, China’s Commerce Minister visited the United States, and Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met Wang in Vienna in May.
But they were punctuated by the two countries’ fierce rhetoric over the Taiwan Strait, broader intentions in the Indo-Pacific, China’s refusal to accuse Russia of its war with Ukraine, and Washington’s claims that China is seeking to build up its military power. It is Global surveillance capabilities, including Cuba.
And earlier this month, China’s defense minister rejected US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s request to meet alongside a security symposium in Singapore, a sign of continued dissatisfaction.
China underscores its difficulties, calling the US security firm’s report “far-fetched and unprofessional” attributing attacks against hundreds of public institutions, schools and other targets around the world to China-linked hackers. refused as
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman has repeatedly accused the US government of conducting hacking attacks, complaining that the cybersecurity industry rarely reports hacking attacks.
Meanwhile, the national security advisers of the United States, Japan and the Philippines held their first joint meeting on Friday and agreed to step up defense cooperation as part of countering China’s growing influence and ambitions.
This comes at the same time that the Biden administration signed agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom to provide its first nuclear submarines, prompting China to expand its diplomatic presence, particularly in the Indian and Pacific island nations. and is moving rapidly, and China is opening or opening. It plans to open at least five new embassies in the next year.
The agreement is part of an 18-month nuclear partnership called ‘AUKUS’, which stands for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Information in this article was contributed by Matthew Lee, Seung Min Kim and Huizhong Wu of The Associated Press and Iain Marlow, Kevin Ding, Philip Glamann and Bill Faries of Bloomberg News (TNS).