In an effort to halt the rapid decline in relations between the powerful rival countries, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with President Xi Jinping on Monday in Beijing in a 35-minute meeting which the top US diplomat called a “positive step” toward mending ties.
Blinken’s message that the US government is committed to responsibly managing relations appeared well received by Xi, coming at the end of Blinken’s two-day visit, with the Chinese leader remarking, “This is very good.”
The meeting was held in the Great Hall of the People, which is off the West side of Tiananmen Square, typically used for receiving heads of state and other top dignitaries.
A State Department statement said “It’s in the interest of the United States, in the interests of China, and in the interest of the world” for the two nations to mend ties.
Prior to going into the Xi meeting, Xi met with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, and with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang – both of which were present in the Xi meeting.
According to a summary of the US call readout:
During his meeting with Blinken, Xi said China does not seek to challenge or displace the United States, but insisted the U.S. must also respect China’s rights and interests, according to a readout from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Blinken denied that the U.S. is trying to contain China economically, as Xi has charged, and said Washington wanted to see economic growth in every part of the world.
“But at the same time we can, we will and we must take steps necessary to protect our national security,” he said, referring to U.S. efforts to limit China’s access to semiconductor technology, among other actions he described as “narrowly focused.”
The Blinken-Qin talks had lasted six hours, and while China hadn’t greeted Blinken’s visit in the lead-up with much enthusiasm after the original February debate was postponed in the wake of the “spy balloon” shootdown and saga, it’s being widely perceived that this could lay the groundwork for a Xi and Biden meeting later this year.
“Welcome to China”
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as the pair meet in Beijing https://t.co/bHR1zwQU0w pic.twitter.com/SbmgZdiRu1
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) June 19, 2023
Overall the talks were dubbed “candid” and “constructive”. The below notes are based on Bloomberg’s review of the readouts from both sides as a result of the Blinken’s two-day visit and high-level meetings:
- China hasn’t agreed on military to military ties with the US; US will keep working on that
- Progress with China is hard; it takes time
- US clear eyed about challenges posed by China; Blinken discussed unfair treatment of US companies with China
- China’s broad economic success also in US interests; not in US’s interests to decouple from China
- Healthy economic engagement benefits the US and China
- US needs to protect critical technologies
- US wants to work with China on climate, public health
- Blinken reiterates he welcomes China role in Ukraine diplomacy
- Blinken raised concerns on China’s provocative Taiwan actions
- Differences on Taiwan should be resolved peacefully
- US committed to one China policy, three communiques
- Blinken expects additional senior visits from US officials
- China, US set up working group on fentanyl
Importantly, some ‘assurances’ were given on Taiwan, with Blinken reiterating that the administration’s commitment to ‘Once China’ hasn’t changed…
“We do not support the independence of Taiwan,” – US Secretary of State Blinken during the talks in Beijing
At the meeting with Blinken, Xi Jinping also emphasized that the US and China have made progress and agreements “on some specific issues.” pic.twitter.com/cK8ZJwjAxq
— MAKS 23 👀🇺🇦 (@Maks_NAFO_FELLA) June 19, 2023
Also interesting is that China’s top diplomat Wang Yi had said that worsened relations were the result of the United States’ “misperceptions” about China, laying down that Washington must make a choice “between dialogue and confrontation, and cooperation and conflict.”
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