Xi Jinping sees ‘progress’ in China-US ties at meeting with Antony Blinken
Chinese President Xi Jinping hinted at the possibility of a truce in the strained relationship between Beijing and Washington during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Xi’s remarks indicate a willingness on China’s part to consider stabilizing bilateral relations, which have become increasingly acrimonious.
Speaking at the Great Hall of the People alongside Blinken, the first US secretary of state to visit China since 2018, Xi emphasized that the future and destiny of humanity depend on whether China and the US can coexist harmoniously. He stressed the need for responsible handling of Sino-US relations, taking into account history, the people, and the world.
Xi further stated that progress had been made and agreements reached on specific issues during extensive talks between senior Chinese officials and Blinken over the two-day visit. President Joe Biden, while visiting California, praised Blinken’s efforts in China, expressing confidence in the progress made during the meetings.
Blinken, in his comments after the meeting, concurred that both countries had an obligation to manage the relationship responsibly. Recognizing the instability in the relationship, he emphasized the need to establish better lines of communication to prevent competition from escalating into conflict. Blinken viewed the past few days as a positive step towards that goal, which serves the interests of both countries and the world.
Earlier scheduled for the beginning of the year
Earlier scheduled for the beginning of the year, Blinken’s trip to Beijing was postponed after a Chinese spy balloon allegedly flew over sensitive US military sites and was subsequently shot down. Tensions between the two nations have been fueled by concerns over China’s military activities near Taiwan and its stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Washington has also raised issues such as export controls on advanced technology and security arrangements with allies aimed at containing China’s ambitions.
Experts note the lack of substantive negotiations during Blinken’s visit as an indication of the deterioration in the relationship. The Biden administration aims to rebuild diplomacy and communication channels with Beijing to mitigate the risk of misperception and miscalculation. China, on the other hand, is grappling with economic slowdown and deteriorating foreign investment sentiment exacerbated by tensions with the US.
importance of military-to-military communication
Blinken highlighted the importance of military-to-military communication to prevent incidents in regions like Taiwan and the South China Sea. However, he admitted that there was no immediate progress on this issue. Xi assured Blinken of China’s respect for US interests, emphasizing that China did not seek to challenge or replace the United States. In return, he called for the US to respect China’s legitimate rights and interests, urging both sides to refrain from imposing their own wishes on each other.
Blinken reiterated that the US does not aim to contain China or decouple from its economy but rather seeks to protect national security by withholding certain technologies that could aid China’s security-focused programs. He emphasized that the US would take necessary steps to safeguard its national security, as he believed China would do the same if the situation were reversed.