Antony Blinken praises honest discussions on high-stakes China trip.
According to the US State Department, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conducted “candid” and “constructive” talks with China’s Foreign Minister in Beijing on the first day of two days of meetings with Chinese officials.
Mr Blinken emphasized the need of diplomacy and maintaining “open channels of communication,” according to US sources.
The trip is the first by a US official to China in nearly five years, and it comes months after a previous Blinken visit was canceled due to a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon flying in US territory.
The major purpose of the talks, according to US officials, is to stabilize a hostile relationship.
According to state media, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang told Mr Blinken that Beijing was dedicated to creating a stable, predictable, and constructive relationship with the US. During the conversations, he promised to visit Washington, according to US sources.
Mr Qin described Taiwan as one of “China’s core interests” and the “most prominent risk” to China-US relations, according to official media.
Taiwan perceives itself as different from the Chinese mainland, with its own constitution and officials. US President Joe Biden stated last year that the US would defend Taiwan in the case of a Chinese assault, which Beijing criticized.
On Sunday morning, Mr Qin visited Mr Blinken at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, an opulent compound that frequently welcomes visiting dignitaries.
The two shook hands as they stood in front of their respective flags, then sat down at long tables with their delegates to begin their meetings.
The businesslike welcome emphasized the cold relations that have evolved between the two superpowers in recent years.
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The US has been lowering expectations for the trip, and both parties have stated that no substantial breakthroughs are expected.
The Ukrainian conflict, trade disagreements over advanced computer technologies, the fentanyl opioid epidemic in the United States, and Chinese human rights violations are all themes that Americans expected to be tackled.
Chinese officials reacted coolly to Mr. Blinken’s visit, asking whether the United States is earnest in its efforts to repair relations.
It is unknown whether he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mr. Blinken is the highest-ranking US official to visit China since President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021.
“If we want to ensure, as we do, that our competition with China does not devolve into conflict, the place to start is with communication,” Mr Blinken told reporters on Friday.
Later, he stated that he hoped to meet President Xi in the coming months.
A meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping in Bali in November temporarily alleviated fears of a new Cold War, but high-level communication between the two leaders has been infrequent since the balloon incident.