Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of a regional summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, the latest in a series of diplomatic meetings between US and Chinese officials while the two countries try to ease tensions.
The talks between Blinken and Wang touched on regional and global issues, including “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” said Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the State Department, describing the discussions as “frank and constructive.”
“The meeting was part of ongoing efforts to keep communication channels open to clarify US interests on a wide range of issues and responsibly manage competition by reducing the risk of misperception and miscalculation. Miller said.
The Chinese government did not immediately issue a statement on the meeting.
The talks, which took place at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, followed a four-day visit to China by Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and a trip to Beijing last month. Blinken’s past, the first to China by a US Secretary of State in five years. John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy on climate change, is scheduled to arrive in China on Sunday.
The United States says it wants to establish a “floor” for its relations with China, which have sunk to their lowest point in decades. Tensions have flared over US trade restrictions on advanced technology to China, the appearance of a Chinese surveillance balloon over the United States, China’s continued support for Russia and disagreements over Taiwan.
Detente between the two countries remains fragile, underscored Wednesday when US officials said Chinese hackers had broken into the email accounts of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and other State and Commerce Department officials in weeks. before Blinken traveled to Beijing.
Ties could fray further if the Biden administration announces new restrictions on US investments in Chinese companies involved in quantum computing, artificial intelligence and semiconductors.
Mr. Blinken reiterated US concerns to Mr. Wang about any cyber-espionage against US officials, companies and citizens, a State Department official said, adding that the two sides also discussed China’s role in the US fentanyl crisis
Mr. Blinken’s attendance at the Indonesia meeting highlights how Southeast Asia has become a crucial part of the Biden administration’s strategy to compete with China. Washington has been emphasizing its security commitments in the region and is trying to offer more economic incentives to reach out to the United States, but has run into trouble due to China’s dominance of trade.
While the United States has rejected China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, some countries in the region, including Indonesia, have shown reluctance to antagonize Beijing.
Indonesia last month said it would shift the location of joint military exercises with other ASEAN nations away from disputed waters in the South China Sea claimed by China. ASEAN is a regional group of 10 nations that includes Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Early Thursday, Mr. Wang met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov and discussed promoting multilateralism and “democratization” of international relations, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.
The meeting came a day after NATO allies wrapped up a summit that focused on thwarting Russia’s war in Ukraine and highlighting the threat posed by China.
Mr. Wang was attending the ASEAN meeting in place of Qin Gang, China’s foreign minister, for “health reasons,” China’s foreign ministry said earlier this week.
Mr. Qin’s last public appearance was on June 25 during a meeting in Beijing with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry website.
edward wong contributed reporting.