June 19, 2024

Winking at Beijing: China and the US are resuming ties

Travel to China

Updated on 06/19/2023 06:06

After months of conflict, the US and China are trying to mend their troubled relationship. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held intensive talks in Beijing. Any progress?

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The two sides are speaking face-to-face for the first time in the ongoing tension between the US and China. On the second day of his visit to China, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also met top Chinese foreign policy chief Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday.

In China’s power hierarchy, the top politician ranks above Foreign Minister Qin Gang. The first visit by a US secretary of state to China since 2018 comes amid deep differences and tensions between the rival powers, with Beijing also cutting off communication channels.

According to US reports, Blinken spoke to his counterpart for seven and a half hours on Sunday – longer than planned. US Secretary of State Qin invited Gang to return to Washington.

Both sides described the talks in official statements as frank, detailed and constructive. However, the Chinese foreign minister saw the mutual relationship as “at its lowest point” since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979.

Speculation on Blinken’s meeting with Xi Jinping

Nevertheless, there was speculation that Blinken might be invited by the state president and the party on Monday. Xi Jinping can get. However, such a meeting is ethically unusual and may be seen as a special gesture.

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It was not initially confirmed that such a meeting could be scheduled in Beijing. Blinken is making up for a trip originally scheduled for February – but canceled at short notice after accusations of espionage against China over the balloon affair.

According to the US State Department, Blinken highlighted several conflicting issues and areas where China and the US could work together. In his conversation with Qin Gang, he reiterated that the United States pursues a vision of a world that is “free and open and upholds order based on international rules.” His counterpart said China wanted “stable, predictable and constructive” relations and hoped the US would “work in the same direction”.

China has repeatedly refused to negotiate

Amid heightened tensions since last summer, the Chinese side has repeatedly refused to talk through existing communication channels, as described by a US diplomat. “We tried several times to get in touch, but no one answered the phone in Beijing,” the ambassador said.

He cited events such as China’s major maneuvers in response to then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.

Earlier this month, Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu also refused to meet US envoy Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Asian Shangri-La defense talks in Singapore. Although he declined to speak in recent months, in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Blinken, he urged the US side to work with China to “deal with unexpected and occasional incidents in a calm, professional and rational manner”.

China’s foreign minister makes demands considering Taiwan

At the same time, Qin Gang made “clear demands on the Taiwan issue”: the United States should adhere to the “one China policy”, honor its obligations and not support independence forces in Taiwan.

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The One China policy means that Beijing is considered the sole legitimate government of China. China views Democratic Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China and threatens to annex it. However, in Taipei, an independent government has been in power for more than seven decades, and today it does not want to represent all of China. (dpa/ank)