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Monday, February 26, 2024

Blinken opens second day of talks in Beijing on mission to ease hovering US-China tensions

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BEIJING — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has opened a second and ultimate day of essential conferences with senior Chinese language officers as the 2 sides expressed willingness to speak however confirmed little inclination to bend on hardened positions which have despatched tensions hovering.

Blinken was assembly Monday morning with China’s high diplomat Wang Yi and an encounter with President Xi Jinping was nonetheless within the playing cards earlier than he departs within the late night.

Neither Blinken nor Wang made any remark to reporters as they greeted one another and sat for his or her dialogue.

Within the first spherical of talks on Sunday, Blinken met for practically six hours with Chinese language International Minister Qin Gang after which each international locations stated they’d agreed to proceed high-level discussions. Nonetheless, there was no signal that any of probably the most fractious points between them had been nearer to decision.

The 2 sides each stated Qin had accepted an invite from Blinken to go to Washington however Beijing made clear that “the China-U.S. relationship is on the lowest level since its institution.” That sentiment is broadly shared by U.S. officers.

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The State Division stated Blinken had harassed “the significance of diplomacy and sustaining open channels of communication throughout the complete vary of points to cut back the chance of misperception and miscalculation.”

The Chinese language, in the meantime, restated their place that the present state of relations “doesn’t serve the basic pursuits of the 2 peoples or meet the shared expectations of the worldwide group,” in response to the overseas ministry.

Blinken is the highest-level American official to go to China since President Joe Biden took workplace and his two-day journey comes after his preliminary plans to journey to China had been postponed in February after the shootdown of a Chinese language surveillance balloon over the U.S.

Regardless of Blinken’s presence in China, he and different U.S. officers had performed down the prospects for any important breakthroughs on probably the most vexing points going through the planet’s two largest economies.

Nonetheless, his talks may pave the way in which for a gathering within the coming months between Biden and Xi. Biden stated Saturday that he hoped to have the ability to meet with Xi within the coming months to take up the plethora of variations that divide them.

That lengthy checklist incudes disagreements starting from commerce to Taiwan, human rights circumstances in China and Hong Kong to Chinese language navy assertiveness within the South China Sea and Russia’s warfare in Ukraine.

In his conferences on Sunday, Blinken additionally pressed the Chinese language to launch detained Americans and to take steps to curb the manufacturing and export of fentanyl precursors which can be fueling the opioid disaster in america.

Blinken “made clear that america will at all times rise up for the pursuits and values of the American individuals and work with its allies and companions to advance our imaginative and prescient for a world that’s free, open, and upholds the worldwide rules-based order,” the State Division stated.

The Chinese language overseas ministry countered in its assertion that “China hopes that the U.S. will undertake an goal and rational notion of China, work with China in the identical path, uphold the political basis of China-U.S. relations, and deal with sudden and sporadic occasions in a peaceful, skilled and rational method.”

Blinken and different officers have emphasised the significance of the U.S. and China establishing and sustaining higher traces of communication.

Biden and Xi had made commitments to enhance communications “exactly in order that we will be certain we’re speaking as clearly as attainable to keep away from attainable misunderstandings and miscommunications,” Blinken stated earlier than leaving.

Xi supplied a touch of a attainable willingness to cut back tensions, saying in a gathering with Microsoft Corp. co-founder Invoice Gates on Friday that america and China can cooperate to “profit our two international locations.”

For the reason that cancellation of Blinken’s journey in February, there have been some high-level engagements. CIA chief William Burns traveled to China in Might, whereas China’s commerce minister traveled to the U.S. And Biden’s nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan met with senior Chinese language overseas coverage adviser Wang Yi in Vienna in Might.

However these have been punctuated by bursts of offended rhetoric from each side over the Taiwan Strait, their broader intentions within the Indo-Pacific, China’s refusal to sentence Russia for its warfare towards Ukraine, and U.S. allegations from Washington that Beijing is trying to spice up its worldwide surveillance capabilities, together with in Cuba.

And, earlier this month, China’s protection minister rebuffed a request from U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin for a gathering on the sidelines of a safety symposium in Singapore, an indication of constant discontent.

In the meantime, the nationwide safety advisers of america, Japan and the Philippines held their first joint talks final week and agreed to strengthen their protection cooperation, partly to counter China’s rising affect and ambitions.

This coincides with the Biden administration inking an settlement with Australia and Britain to supply the primary with nuclear-powered submarines, with China shifting quickly to broaden its diplomatic presence, particularly within the Indian Ocean and the Pacific island nations, the place it has opened or has plans to open a minimum of 5 new embassies over the subsequent yr.

The settlement is a part of an 18-month-old nuclear partnership given the acronym AUKUS — for Australia, the UK and america.



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