Blinken, China’s Wang Yi hold talks covering war and trade in Ukraine

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, July 9 (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Saturday he had discussed Russia’s aggression in Ukraine during more than five hours of talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in which he raised concerns about Beijing’s siding with Moscow. .

Describing their first personal talks since October as “frank,” the two diplomats called the meeting a day after they attended a meeting of G20 foreign ministers on the Indonesian island of Bali.

“I once again shared with the State Councilor that we are concerned about the PRC’s alignment with Russia,” Blinken said at a news conference after the talks, referring to the People’s Republic of China. He said he did not believe China was acting in a neutral manner because it had supported Russia at the United Nations and “Russian propaganda has been amplified”.

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Blinken said Chinese President Xi Jinping made it clear in a phone call with President Vladimir Putin on June 13 that he sticks to the decision to form a partnership with Russia.

Shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Beijing and Moscow announced a “borderless” partnership, although US officials say they have not seen China evade tough US-led sanctions on Russia or provide it with military equipment.

US officials have warned of the consequences, including sanctions, if China provides material support for the war, which Moscow calls a “special military operation” to weaken the Ukrainian military. Kyiv and its Western allies say the invasion was an unjustified land grab.

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Asked about his refusal to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the G-20, Blinkin said: “The problem is: We don’t see any indications whatsoever that Russia, at this moment, is ready to engage in meaningful diplomacy.”

Wang had an in-depth exchange of views on the “Ukrainian issue” during Saturday’s talks, according to a statement issued by his ministry, without elaborating.

He also told Blinken that the direction of US-China relations is at risk of being further “strayed” due to a problem with the US’s perception of China.

“Many people believe that the United States is experiencing an increasingly serious bout of ‘sinophobia’,” Wang was quoted as saying.

Wang also said that Washington should cancel additional tariffs on China as soon as possible and stop unilateral sanctions against Chinese companies.

US officials had said before the talks that the meeting was aimed at keeping the difficult US-China relationship stable and preventing it from inadvertently turning into conflict. Read more

“Going forward, the United States wants our channels of communication with Beijing to remain open,” Blinken said.

Blinken said Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping are expected to speak again in the coming weeks.

Daniel Russell, a senior US East Asia diplomat under former President Barack Obama who has close contact with Biden administration officials, said before the talks that the main objective of the meeting would be to explore the possibility of a personal meeting between Biden and . Xi, their first leader, was probably on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali in November.

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The United States describes China as its main strategic rival and worries that it may one day try to gain control of the self-ruled, democratic island of Taiwan, just as Russia attacked Ukraine.

Despite their rivalry, the world’s two largest economies remain major trading partners, and Biden is considering eliminating tariffs on a range of Chinese goods to curb rising US inflation ahead of November’s midterm elections, with an eye on congressional control. Read more

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(David Bronstrom Stanley Widianto reports) Additional reporting by Ryan Wu in Beijing. Written by Ed Davies. Editing by Christian Schmolinger, Robert Percell, William Mallard and Christina Fincher

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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