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US secretary of state launches unusual visit to China in hopes of easing tensions

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang shake hands prior to a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on June 18, 2023.
photograph: Leah Millis/AFP/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken kicked off talks in Beijing on Sunday, amid somber bilateral ties and a long list of disputes between the world’s two largest economies, and the prospects for an end to a long list of disputes. He visited China for the first time in five years as an official.

Blinken, who postponed a trip to China in February after he allegedly flew over U.S. airspace over a Chinese spy balloon, is the highest-ranking official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021. Became a senior U.S. government official.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang greeted Mr. Blinken and others at the entrance of a villa on the grounds of Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guest House, rather than inside the building as is customary.

As the two entered the store, they made small talk, and Mr. Hata asked Mr. Blinken in English about the long trip from Washington. They then shook hands in front of the Chinese and American flags.

After entering the conference room, neither Brinken nor Ching made any comments before the reporters who were briefly allowed inside.

China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying, who was present at the meeting, wrote above a photo of Qin and Biden shaking hands, saying, “This meeting will help bring China-US relations back to what the two presidents agreed in Bali. I hope it will be,” he tweeted.

Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The long-awaited first face-to-face meeting will be held on the sidelines of the G20 Economic Powers Summit in November They held candid talks over Taiwan and North Korea in Bali, Indonesia, but also promised more frequent contact.

Brinken is expected to meet with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and possibly Xi during his stay until Monday, local time, to ensure the strategic rivalry between the two countries does not escalate into conflict. We aim to establish open and durable communication channels.

Blinken’s visit is expected to pave the way for further bilateral talks in the coming months, including possible visits by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimond. It could also set the stage for Xi and Biden to meet at a multilateral summit later this year.

Biden said on Saturday that he would like to meet with Xi in the next few months.

At a meeting between the two leaders in Bali, Indonesia, in November, fears of a new Cold War eruption temporarily eased, but a high-level attack was reported after an alleged Chinese spy balloon flew over the United States. communication is rare.

The rest of the world should also invite Mr. Blinken to visit, as escalation between superpowers can have global implications for everything from financial markets to trade routes and practices to global supply chains. will keep an eye on it.

“There is a recognition on both sides that we need a high-level communication channel,” a senior State Department official told reporters during a refueling stop in Tokyo en route to Beijing.

“We have come to a critical point in our relationship and I think the key thing is to mitigate the risk of miscalculation or, as our Chinese friends often say, to stop the downward spiral in the relationship,” the official said. said.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated across the board, fueling fears that the two sides could one day engage in military clashes over the autonomous island of Taiwan, which China claims to be its own. The two countries are also at odds over issues ranging from trade, US efforts to curb China’s semiconductor industry, to Beijing’s human rights record.

Of particular concern to China’s neighbors is China’s reluctance to participate in regular military-to-military talks with the United States, despite repeated attempts by the United States.

At a press conference on Friday before leaving for Beijing, Mr. Blinken said the visit had three main purposes. to develop crisis-management mechanisms; to advance the interests of the United States and its allies; to speak directly about relevant concerns; and to explore potential areas for cooperation.

“If you want to keep competition from China from turning into conflict, as we do, start with communication,” said Mr. Blinken. He said he would also raise the issue of Americans detained in China on charges that Washington claims are politically motivated.

U.S. officials said among the agenda that could be discussed was the potential increase in commercial flights between the two countries, a move that could help promote people-to-people ties. But officials did not anticipate any progress.

Still, U.S. officials downplayed hopes of major progress in a preview of their visit earlier this week. Blinken’s main goal is “candid, direct and constructive” debate, but officials say there is no hope of a breakthrough on key issues such as the influx of fentanyl precursors and Americans detained in China. said.

Enlisting China’s cooperation in stopping the leak of the fentanyl precursor is a key topic on the agenda, US officials said. U.S. officials say China is reluctant to cooperate on the issue.


https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/492227/us-secretary-of-state-starts-rare-china-trip-hoping-to-ease-tensions US secretary of state launches unusual visit to China in hopes of easing tensions

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