US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China to improve the relationship between the two countries. He had a meeting with China’s top foreign policy official, Wang Yi. Wang emphasized the importance of choosing dialogue and cooperation over confrontation and conflict. He also urged the US to stop exaggerating the threat posed by China and suppressing its technological development.
The talks between Blinken and Wang followed a lengthy and candid meeting between Blinken and China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang. The positive tone of these discussions has raised hopes that Blinken will also meet with President Xi Jinping. This meeting is seen as a crucial test of the success of Blinken’s trip, especially after Xi’s recent meeting with Bill Gates.
Blinken’s visit is significant because he is the highest-ranking US official to visit China in five years. However, the timing is challenging as tensions between the two countries are high, covering various issues like human rights, technology, trade, and weapons sales to Taiwan.
Qin emphasized that Taiwan is a core interest for China and the most prominent risk in China-US relations. Wang added that there can be no compromise on the issue, as Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway territory that must be reclaimed by force if necessary.
Blinken’s previous attempt to visit China in February was canceled due to an alleged spying incident. This incident led to accusations of “hysteria” from China towards the US.
Chinese state media did not give much prominence to Blinken’s rescheduled visit. Instead, they focused on Premier Li Qiang’s trip to Europe to strengthen ties with Germany and France.
Although Blinken’s talks with the Chinese foreign minister did not have an immediate positive impact on the stock markets, there were signs of progress on practical matters. The two sides discussed increasing flights between the countries and encouraging educational exchanges, which could lead to more student visas.
While there were no expectations of resolving fundamental differences during the talks, both sides gained a better understanding of each other and moved closer to a better outcome.
Blinken’s visit is part of an ongoing effort to improve communication between the US and China, aiming to reduce the risk of military conflicts, particularly in the South China Sea. Recent confrontations between naval vessels and jets in the region have been described as unnecessarily aggressive and dangerous by the US Pentagon.
Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, who is sanctioned by the US, declined a meeting with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin at a defense forum in Singapore.