Blinken, Xi pleased with progress in U.S.-China talks, but more work to be done

Blinken, Xi pleased with progress in U.S.-China talks, but more work to be done

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday and said they agreed to “stabilize” a badly deteriorating U.S.-China relationship, but the top U.S. diplomat made the biggest move as he left Beijing. Request rejected: Strengthen communication between the two armies.

After meeting with Xi, Blinken said China was not yet ready to resume military engagement, which the United States believes is crucial to avoid miscalculation and conflict, especially over Taiwan.

However, Blinken and Xi expressed satisfaction with the progress made during the two days of talks, without identifying specific areas of agreement beyond a joint decision to return to an agenda approved last year by Xi and President Biden on a broad cooperation and competition agenda . Bali summit.

And it is unclear whether these understandings will resolve their most important differences, many of which have international implications. Both, however, said they were satisfied with the outcome of the highest-level U.S. visit to China in five years.

The two sides have expressed a willingness to hold more talks, but there has been little sign of readiness on trade, the human rights situation in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, China’s military assertiveness in the South China Sea and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Blinken later said the U.S. set limited goals for the trip and achieved them. He told reporters before heading to London for a conference on rebuilding Ukraine that he had “repeatedly” raised the issue of communications between the military.

“It’s absolutely critical that we have these kinds of communications,” he said. “It’s something we’ll continue to work on.”

The US stated that since 2021, China has refused or failed to respond to more than a dozen high-level dialogue requests from the Ministry of Defense.

Xi said he was satisfied with the outcome of Blinken’s earlier meeting with top Chinese diplomats and said it was important to restart the Bali agenda, according to a transcript of the meeting with Blinken.

Xi Jinping said: “China has stated its position, and the two sides agreed to implement the consensus reached by President Biden and me in Bali.”

That agenda has been in jeopardy in recent months, especially after the United States shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that flew over its airspace in February and escalated military activity in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea. Add to that other disputes over human rights, trade and opiate production, and the list of problem areas is daunting.

But Xi suggested the worst may be over.

“The two sides have also made progress and reached agreement on some specific issues,” Xi said, without elaborating, according to a transcript of the conversation released by the State Council. “this is very good.”

Speaking to Xi during the 35-minute meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Blinken said “the United States and China have an obligation and a responsibility to manage our problem” relationship. “

“The United States is committed to doing this,” Blinken said. “It’s in America’s interest, it’s in China’s interest, it’s in the world’s interest.”

Blinken described his earlier discussions with senior Chinese officials as “frank and constructive.”

Despite his symbolic presence in China, Blinken and other U.S. officials have played down the prospect of major breakthroughs on the thorniest issues facing the world’s two largest economies.

Instead, the officials emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining better communication channels between the two countries.

Therefore, China’s refusal to resume contact between the two militaries is an obstacle.

“Progress is tough,” Blinken told reporters. “It will take time and it will take more than one visit.”

Blinken’s trip is expected to herald a new wave of visits by senior U.S. and Chinese officials to each other’s countries, possibly including meetings between Xi and Biden in India or the U.S. in the coming months.

Before meeting Xi, Blinken met with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, for about three hours earlier Monday, in a meeting that cast a harsh light on the talks.

“It is necessary to choose between dialogue or confrontation, cooperation or conflict,” China’s foreign ministry said, blaming the current “trough” in relations between the two countries on “the U.S. side’s erroneous perception of China, leading to wrong policies toward China.” .

And, it said the United States had a responsibility to stop the “downward spiral of U.S.-China relations and return it to a healthy and stable track.” The statement added that Wang Yi “demanded that the U.S. side stop hyping up the ‘China threat theory’, lift illegal unilateral sanctions against China, stop suppressing China’s technological development, and stop arbitrarily interfering in China’s internal affairs.”

In a readout of the meeting, the State Department said Blinken “emphasized the importance of responsibly managing competition between the United States and China through open lines of communication to ensure that competition does not turn into conflict,” using the initials of the People’s Republic of China Acronym Chinese.

In the first round of talks on Sunday, Blinken held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang for nearly six hours before the two countries agreed to continue high-level talks.

Both the US and China said Qin had accepted Blinken’s invitation to visit Washington, but Beijing made it clear that “China-US relations are at their lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic relations”. U.S. officials generally share that view.

Blinken’s visit comes after his planned February trip to China was delayed after a Chinese surveillance balloon over the United States was shot down

During his talks, Blinken also urged China to release detained U.S. citizens and take steps to curb the production and export of fentanyl precursors that are fueling America’s opioid crisis.

There have been some high-level contacts since Blinken’s trip was canceled in February. CIA Director William Burns visited China in May, China’s Commerce Minister visited the United States, and Biden’s national security adviser, Jack Sullivan, met with China’s top foreign policy adviser Wang Yi in Vienna in May.

But the two have erupted in angry rhetoric over the Taiwan Strait, their broader intentions in the Indo-Pacific, China’s refusal to accuse Russia of waging war on Ukraine and the United States accusing Beijing of trying to boost its global surveillance capabilities, including in Cuba.

And, in a sign of ongoing discontent, earlier this month, China’s defense minister rejected a request by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to hold talks on the sidelines of a security symposium in Singapore.

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