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Blinken meets Xi as China and US try to manage tensions – UnlistedNews

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Xi Jinping, China’s leader, in Beijing on Monday, as the United States and China sought to pull relations out of a deep freeze that has raised global concerns about the growing risk of a conflict between them.

The meeting between the two officials, held at the Great Hall of the People, the large building on the west side of Tiananmen Square where Xi usually receives state leaders, sent a signal, at least for now, that the two nations They don’t want their relationship to be defined by open hostility, and they don’t want them to realize the stakes of their rivalry and their diplomatic efforts.

Earlier in the day, Blinken met with Wang Yi, China’s top foreign policy official, who said the two countries had a responsibility to the world to reverse the downward spiral in their relations, according to an official Chinese reading of the report. three hours. meeting. But Wang took a tough tone in blaming Washington for the tensions.

The State Department summary took a measured approach, saying that Blinken and Wang had a “frank and productive discussion” and that Blinken stressed that the two powers had to manage their rivalry responsibly “through open channels of communication to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”

Mr. Blinken is the first US secretary of state to visit Beijing since 2018. The efforts to establish regular high-level diplomacy come as bilateral relations are at their lowest point in decades. Tensions soared in February when the Pentagon announced that a Chinese surveillance balloon was adrift across the continental United States, prompting Blinken to cancel an earlier planned trip to Beijing, then ordering fighter jets Americans to shoot it down.

Relations were further strained in February when Blinken confronted Wang on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to tell him that Washington believed China was considering providing lethal support to Russia for its war in Ukraine. China responded by freezing some important diplomatic exchanges and intensifying anti-American rhetoric.

In recent weeks, the two countries have sought to re-establish high-level contacts to better manage tensions that have escalated in recent years. Officials on both sides have said the two days of diplomacy in Beijing would ideally lead to a series of visits to the Chinese capital by other top US officials, including Janet Yellen, the Treasury secretary, Gina Raimondo, the Commerce secretary. and John Kerry. , the special presidential envoy for climate issues.

US officials say it’s important to maintain regular high-level dialogue so the two governments can speak quickly to each other during any crises that may arise, especially as their militaries are increasingly in close contact with each other at sea and in the air. China and other parts of Asia.

On Monday, Mr. Wang, the top foreign policy official, said the United States should cooperate with Beijing instead of “exaggerating” the “China threat theory,” according to the Chinese official reading. He said Washington must lift sanctions on China and stop stifling the country’s technological development. He accused the United States of “recklessly interfering in China’s internal affairs” on issues like Taiwan, the de facto independent island claimed by China to which the United States supplies weapons.

No issue irritates Beijing more than Washington’s perceived growing support for Taiwan. Beijing has also sought to roll back Washington’s efforts to restrict its access to advanced semiconductor chips and manufacturing equipment, as well as deepen defense ties with regional allies, notably Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines.

The US readout of the meeting with Wang said Blinken insisted his government would continue to raise areas of concern with China, but also said the two officials “discussed opportunities to explore cooperation on shared transnational challenges.” US officials say climate change, global economic instability and fentanyl production are examples of those challenges.

On Sunday, Mr. Blinken met with Qin Gang, China’s foreign minister, for five and a half hours and had a two-hour dinner. The talks were “frank, substantive, and constructive,” according to the State Department’s written summary.

State Department officials said the two governments have agreed that working groups and diplomats will meet soon to discuss a variety of issues, including greater access to each country for journalists, academics and students. US officials also said that they and their Chinese counterparts had agreed to expand direct commercial flights between the two nations.

The two days of meetings may halt the deterioration of ties for now, although analysts say it will take much longer for both sides to overcome the mistrust that weighs on the relationship.

The hope is that Mr. Blinken’s visit will help push the two governments to “shape a framework of principles for managing US-China relations, in order to limit competition to acceptable limits and create more space for coordinated efforts where the interests of the United States and China overlap.” said Jessica Chen Weiss, a Cornell University political scientist who recently advised the State Department on China policy.

China has rejected attempts by the Biden administration to set up so-called guardrails to prevent potential accidents in disputed areas such as the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea from spiraling out of control. Analysts say some Chinese officials see any perception by Americans that the Chinese government and its military can be unpredictable as a useful deterrent. It is thought that the perception could lead US officials to reconsider their military’s activities in China’s waters and skies.

Analysts said China may have been prompted to meet with Blinken for a number of reasons. Pressure may be mounting on Beijing to stabilize ties due to China’s worsening economy. Other countries have also been imploring China and the United States to break their cycle of hostility. Xi may also have wanted to stabilize the relationship so that he would be greeted as a world statesman if he chooses to attend a summit of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group of nations in San Francisco in November.

“China has spent the last few months blaming the United States for everything that is wrong with the relationship and within China in general. Now, China’s leaders must create the political space to pivot toward more direct communication,” said Ryan Hass, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was China director on the National Security Council during the Obama presidency.

“Beijing sees it in its interest to communicate directly to manage the tensions in the relationship,” he added, “and to build a pathway for President Xi to meet with President Biden in the fall.”


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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