The relationship between the two countries has been strained for years. Xi spoke of progress in relations with the US.
Despite the recently increasing tensions between the two great powers, China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping received US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Xi sees “progress” in relation to the United States. Both sides “reached agreement on certain issues,” he said at the meeting, according to Chinese state television. “That’s very good.”
State television showed pictures of the meeting. Blinken have had long, frank and in-depth talks with top foreign policy chief Wang Yi and foreign minister Qin Gang, the president noted. Both sides have made their positions clear and agreed to implement deals he reached at a meeting with US President Joe Biden on the Indonesian island of Bali in November. That’s where the summit of the G20 countries took place.
Xi hopes for ‘stabilization of relations’
Interactions between states should always be based on mutual respect and sincerity, Xi said. “I hope that through his visit, Secretary of State Blinken can make a positive contribution to stabilizing relations between China and the United States.”
The surprising meeting in Beijing is unusual in terms of protocol. It can be understood as a special gesture towards the USA. There had previously been speculation about a meeting between the two.
Wang ruled out compromises on the Taiwan issue
Blinken had previously spoken to the top Chinese diplomat Wang in the morning. The foreign policy chief of the Communist State Party is still above Foreign Minister Qin Gang in the Chinese power hierarchy. Blinken and he negotiated for about three hours, a US government official said. They did not comment on the content.
According to the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, however, Wang ruled out any compromises on the Taiwan question. “On this issue, China has no room for compromise or concession,” he is quoted as saying. The United States must “adhere to the one-China principle, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and take a clear stand against ‘Taiwan independence’.” At the meeting with Blinken, according to state media, Wang Yi also demanded that the United States have to choose “between dialogue and confrontation, between cooperation or conflict” in its relationship with China.
The People’s Republic sees the democratically governed island state as its own national territory and has repeatedly threatened Taiwan with military force. The USA supports Taiwan militarily and expands mutual trade relations.
Intense discussions on controversial issues
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the talks are taking place at a critical moment. The US is pursuing wrong policies and has a responsibility to “stop the downward spiral in China-US relations and return them to a healthy and stable path.”
Blinken had already met his counterpart Qin yesterday. According to US reports, the two conferences lasted seven and a half hours, longer than planned. Resuming diplomatic talks and talking to each other to avoid conflict was a key focus of the joint talks in Beijing.
Trip had previously been cancelled
It is the first visit by a US Secretary of State to China in five years. Relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated significantly in recent years over trade and human rights issues, dealings with Taiwan, and a host of other issues. Disputes between the world’s two largest economies keep coming up on other occasions as well. Beijing had also cut off communication channels.
Blinken’s trip to China was originally planned for early February. However, he canceled at short notice after the day-long overflight of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the United States and the subsequent launch led to an uproar between Washington and Beijing.