Sunday, May 19, 2024

Antony Blinken meets Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday (Apr 26) to discuss a list of complex issues, including deepening tension over China’s backing of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Blinken is set to spend several hours with Wang at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where they will have closed-door discussions, aiming to keep the momentum in US-China relations despite a complex and challenging agenda. 

During the opening session, Wang remarked to Blinken that the great ship of US-China relations had been stable, but negative factors in the relationship are still on the rise.

“And the relationship is facing all kinds of disruptions. China’s legitimate development rights have been unreasonably suppressed and our core interests are facing challenges,” he said.

Replying to this, Blinken said, active diplomacy was needed to move forward with the agenda set by President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping when they met in San Francisco in November.

“There’s no substitute in our judgement for face-to-face diplomacy,” Blinken said, adding that he wanted to ensure that “we’re as clear as possible about the areas where we have differences, at the very least to avoid misunderstandings, to avoid miscalculations”.

Prior to the meeting, US State Department officials indicated that China’s support for Russia would be the key topic, saying that Washington is ready to take action against Chinese companies involved in retooling and resupplying Russia’s defense industry amid war against Ukraine.

In spite of high-level meetings and working groups tackling issues such as enhanced military communication and global trade, tensions remain. The US is keen to see more progress on the limitation of China’s supply of the chemicals to used to make fentanyl.

Blinken is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping today before he returns to Washington in the evening, although neither side has yet confirmed a meeting.

Blinken arrived in Beijing on Thursday (Apr 25) from Shanghai, where he urged China to provide a level playing field for US businesses.

(With inputs from agencies)

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