Blinken meets China’s Wang Yi, all eyes on potential Xi Jinping


Beijing
CNN

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sat down with China’s top diplomat on Monday’s final day High stakes visit Beijing Aimed at cementing ties, it erupted in the wake of a dispute over a Chinese observation balloon.

All eyes are on whether Washington’s envoy will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

World powers are increasingly at odds, and there is widespread international interest in whether Blinken’s trip can ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The visit – the first by a US secretary of state to China in five years – was made by both sides, with the expressed goal of mending their relationship, which has been deeply affected by a number of issues ranging from Beijing’s close ties with Moscow. US attempts to limit sales of advanced technologies to China.

The roughly three-hour meeting between Blingen and China’s top foreign adviser Wang Yi, however, underscored the deeper challenges of overcoming the mistrust and friction that have come to characterize the relationship.

Repeating Beijing’s usual rhetoric, Wang blamed Washington’s “misperception” of China as the “root cause” of the decline in bilateral relations and demanded that the US “repress” China and stop interfering in its internal affairs. Chinese State Broadcasting CCTV.

“We must reverse the downward spiral of Sino-US relations, promote a return to a healthy and stable path, and jointly find the right way for China and the US to co-exist in a new era,” Wang said. Blinken’s visit “came at a critical juncture in US-China relations, where a choice must be made between dialogue or conflict, cooperation or conflict.”

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Wang reiterated that Taiwan One of China’s “core interests” on which there is “no room for compromise or retreat.” The self-governing democratic island, claimed but never controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party, has increasingly become another flashpoint in US-China relations.

The overall remarks took a more belligerent tone than those of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who had met Blinken the day before.

Qin noted that Sino-US relations were at “the lowest point” since the re-establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979 and, like Wang, had “raised clear demands” on US policy towards Taiwan.

But China called Sunday’s talks “sincere, in-depth and constructive,” adding that the two sides agreed to “advance dialogue, exchanges and cooperation” and “maintain high-level contacts,” according to a readout from Beijing.

Blinken’s visit is widely seen as a key test of how far the two powers can maintain their broken communications, especially when it comes to a breakdown over the past year. High-level military exchanges – raises concerns that a mistake or accident in Washington could quickly escalate into conflict.

Whether Blinken meets Xi before his departure will be a key indicator of China’s interest in taking steps to rebuild the relationship.

Previous trips by America’s top diplomat have often involved face-to-face meetings with China’s top leader. Both sides are yet to confirm whether such a meeting will take place.

Blinken’s Sunday meeting with Qin, which lasted more than five hours and closed with dinner, produced progress on “several fronts,” with both sides “looking to reduce tensions,” a senior State Department official told reporters. Sunday.

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However, “deep differences” between the US and China were evident during the meeting, the official added.

The US and China have played down expectations of a major breakthrough during Blinken’s visit.

Ahead of the meeting, Washington has been careful to manage expectations, with a senior State Department official telling reporters last week that he did not expect a “long list of deliverables.”

Blinken’s visit was originally planned for early February, and was agreed as a follow-up to an amicable face-to-face meeting between US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali in November.

The meeting – the first in-person meeting between the two leaders as presidents – was seen as a major step in restoring some communication. Beijing is cut off Following then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last year.

Blinken’s previously scheduled visit was later postponed Chinese observation balloon While China issued a rare statement of regret and called the incident an accident, the US was found to be crossing the continent.

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