city policeLong overdue finish On Monday, he held a sit-down meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping after two days of talks with other senior officials. The visit was an attempt to repair the deteriorating relations between the two countries, which Blinken described as “one of the most important in the world.”
Why was Blinken’s trip to China such a big deal?
Blinken is the first US Secretary of State to visit China since 2018. He was scheduled to travel in February, but his trip was suddenly postponed after the US military shot down a suspect.that flew over the United States.
His meeting with Xi was only confirmed by the US State Department shortly before it took place.
Over the past few years, relations between the United States and China have deteriorated dramatically, reaching a “low point,” in the words of a senior Chinese official. Bilateral relations have been damaged by, among other things, what the United States and its allies see as Chinese provocations inand the South China Sea, as well as China’s support for Russia amid Vladimir Putin’s persistence .
“It was clear that the relationship was in a phase of instability, and both sides recognized the need to work to stabilize it,” Blinken said at a news conference Monday after their meetings.
“A real conversation, a fruitful exchange”
Blinken said he traveled to China to “advance high-level communication challenges, to clarify our positions and intentions in areas of disagreement, and to explore areas where we might work together when our interests align with common transnational challenges. And we did all of that.”
He said he had an “important” conversation with Xi on Monday.
Xi said the two sides “agreed to pursue common understandings” he and President Biden reached on the sidelines of last year’s summit in Bali, and made progress on other issues.
“This is very good,” said the Chinese leader.
Earlier, Blinken met other Chinese officials, Director of the Office of the Central Committee for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and State Councilor Qin Gang. According to a Chinese government statement, Chen said the relationship between the United States and China was “at the lowest point since its establishment.”
“This does not serve the fundamental interests of the two peoples or meet the common expectations of the international community,” the Chinese statement to the meeting said.
But after talking for more than five hours, both sides had more positive things to say.
“This was a real conversation, a productive exchange,” said a senior US State Department official.
The Chinese statement to the meeting said the talks were “frank, in-depth and constructive”.
American Reading used similar language, adding that Blinken “emphasized the importance of diplomacy and maintaining open channels of communication across the full range of issues to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations.”
“The two sides agreed to carry forward consultations on the guiding principles of China-US relations,” the Chinese statement said.
One issue that has contributed to the deterioration of US-China relations has been Taiwan, a democratically self-governing island about 100 miles off China’s east coast. Taiwan has for decades functioned as a multi-party democracy, but China considers it part of its territory.
Xi has made “reunification” one of his primary goals, and has said that China is ready to assert control over Taiwan by force if necessary.
The United States has always pursued a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan, and has refused to openly announce how Washington will respond to China’s invasion of the island.Last year appeared to question this policy, but the White House later clarified that the US position has not changed, and Blinken on Monday stressed Washington’s commitment to the US’ long-standing “one China” policy.
“This policy has not changed,” he said, stressing that the United States “has not supported Taiwan independence,” although it remains committed to ensuring that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself from any attack.
After Blinken met with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, for about three hours Monday, the Chinese government released a statement saying Wang told his US counterpart that “China has no room for compromise or concession” on Taiwan.
He said the United States should “respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and clearly oppose ‘Taiwan independence'”.
Ukraine and Russia
China’s officially neutral stance on its ally Russia’s war in Ukraine has been another major point of contention with Washington. senior US officials,Late last year, they expressed concern that Beijing To support the invasion of Vladimir Putin.
Noting on Monday that China had previously committed not to provide lethal aid to Russia for use in Ukraine, Blinken said the United States “didn’t see anything right now that would contradict that.”
Direct lines of communication between American and Chinese military leaders — a key point of contact in the eyes of American officials when it comes to de-escalating sudden and tense situations that could spiral into global crises — have been cut off for almost some time.
The issue was highlighted early this year during the spy balloon incident, when US officials said their Chinese counterparts simply.
Given the tension around Taiwan and the South China Sea, where the two countries routinely fly and sail military equipmentBetween them, the United States is trying hard to re-establish those lines of emergency communication that connect frontline leaders.
Blinken said he raised the issue of direct military contacts several times during his visit to Beijing, but “at the moment, China hasn’t agreed to go forward with it.”
“It is very important that we restore those channels,” he said. “If we agree that we have a responsibility to responsibly manage this relationship, if we agree that it is in our mutual interest to make sure that the competitive aspects of the relationship do not veer into conflict, then certainly we can agree and see the need to make sure that the channels of communication that we both said are necessary to do that include channels military.”
He called for talks with China on re-establishing those channels. ”
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