China challenges Biden: abide by our sovereignty
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping
(CNN) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken began his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
In a video on China’s state-run CCTV, Xi said in a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The two sides have agreed to move forward with the common understanding that President Biden and I have reached in Bali. The two sides have made progress and have reached agreements on some specific issues. This is very good.”
“State-to-state interactions should always be based on mutual respect and sincerity. I hope that through this visit, Mr. Secretary, you will make further contributions to the stabilization of US-China relations,” Xi said in a speech during the Blinken meeting.
During the half-hour meeting, Blinken stated that a “responsibly” managed relationship between China and the United States was “in the interest of the United States, in the interest of China, and in the interest of the world.”
“Over the past few days, I have had frank and constructive talks with State Councilor Qin Gang and Director Wang Yi,” Blinken said. “And we have covered a wide range of both bilateral and global issues.”
The two world powers are increasingly at odds and there is great international interest in whether Blinken’s trip can ensure a relief in tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Earlier this Monday morning, Blinken met with China’s highest-level diplomat on the last day of a high-level visit to Beijing aimed at stabilizing relations, which soured over a dispute over a balloon. Chinese surveillance.
Wang Yi is the director of the office of the Communist Party of China’s central foreign affairs commission, making him China’s highest-ranking diplomat, above Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
Blinken and the head of Chinese diplomacy, Wang Yi, held a “sincere and productive conversation,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement on Monday.
“They addressed a number of bilateral and global issues affecting people in the United States, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and around the world,” the statement said.
Blinken “stressed the importance of responsibly managing US-China competition through open channels of communication to ensure that competition does not drift into conflict,” Miller said.
Blinken also reiterated that the United States “will continue to use diplomacy to raise areas of concern and defend the interests and values of the American people.”
The two also “discussed opportunities to explore cooperation on shared transnational challenges,” Miller said, without specifying further.
Blinken visits China, promises to raise “real concerns” but with little expectation of progress
Blinken is the first secretary of state to travel to China in five years and the highest-ranking US official to carry out such a mission since President Joe Biden took office in early 2021.
Officials from both governments have signaled low expectations for the visit, with a senior State Department official telling reporters earlier this week that he does not expect “a long list of results.”
This Monday is expected to be a key test of how far the two powers can go to stabilize their fractured lines of communication, which have been broken in the past year, especially when it comes to high-level military exchanges, raising concerns in Washington that a mistake or accident could quickly escalate into a conflict.
The first day of Blinken’s visit, this Sunday, was marked by tensions, with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang stating during his meeting with the US envoy that the relationship between China and the US was at the “lowest point” since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in 1979, according to Beijing.
The fact that Blinken also meets Xi will be a key indicator of China’s interest in taking steps to rebuild that relationship.
Meeting with the chancellor
Blinken’s main goal in China is to restore communication channels, especially direct military-to-military communication between Washington and Beijing, according to a senior State Department official.
His entourage landed in Beijing on Sunday with a full agenda for the first day that began with a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who took office six months ago after ending a term as Beijing’s ambassador to Washington.
Blinken and Qin shook hands in front of reporters at the Diaoyutai State Guest House on Sunday afternoon, their first meeting in person in their current positions.
The two officials exchanged brief pleasantries in English about the US delegation’s flight before heading to a well-lit meeting room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a lotus pond and a large traditional Chinese ink painting on the wall.
During the meeting, which lasted more than five hours, Blinken invited Qin to visit Washington and the invitation was accepted, State Department spokesman Matt Miller said in a reading of the meeting.
“The secretary invited Foreign Minister Qin to Washington for further discussions and they agreed to schedule a reciprocal visit at a mutually convenient time,” Miller said, adding that Blinken stressed the “importance of diplomacy and maintaining channels of communication throughout the range of problems to reduce the risk of misperception or miscalculation.”
Blinken also expressed US concerns on various fronts and opportunities to work together with China where interests align, Miller said.
US officials participating in the meeting included Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns.
On the Chinese side, Qin was accompanied by other officials from the Foreign Ministry, including Vice Foreign Minister Hua Chunying.
Overall, Sunday’s meeting was “direct” and resulted in progress “on several fronts” with both sides showing a “desire to de-escalate tensions,” a senior State Department official told reporters. But the “deep differences” between the US and China were also made clear during the meeting, the official added.
“Nobody had the preconceived idea that we were going to solve all the difficult problems in one or two meetings,” the official added, noting that it was important to start the conversation.
One thing the two sides agreed on was the need to expand flights between the two countries, US officials said. But they did not share any agreement on that issue, or on any other substantive issue, with reporters.
After the afternoon meeting, Blinken went on to have a working dinner with Qin, the US State Department told traveling press.
The Biden administration’s relationship with Beijing is one of its most complicated and consequential, and has seen months of tension, with two military-related incidents in recent weeks.
Biden and Xi met in person for the first time as presidents on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Indonesia last November.
Blinken’s trip, announced by Biden and Xi after their meeting, was originally scheduled for February and had been seen as a key follow-up engagement. However, it was postponed after the discovery of a suspected Chinese spy balloon transiting the US, which Blinken said at the time “created conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip