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Blinken opens second day of talks in Beijing on mission to ease soaring US-China tensions

US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken kicked off Monday the second and final day of high-level talks with Chinese officials, but both sides have shown willingness to talk but bow to a hardened stance amid heightened tensions. Few trends were seen.

Blinken met with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi for about three hours, according to a U.S. official, but it has not yet been confirmed whether Blinken will meet with President Xi Jinping before the evening’s departure.

Neither Brinken nor Wang made any comments as they greeted reporters and sat down to discuss them.

At the first round of talks on Sunday, Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang for nearly six hours, after which the two sides announced they had agreed to continue high-level talks.

But there was no sign that the most vexing issue between the two sides was nearing resolution.


US Secretary of State Antony Brinken (left) shakes hands with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (right) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.
APs

Despite Mr. Blinken’s presence in China, he and other U.S. officials have downplayed the possibility of significant progress on one of the most thorny issues facing the planet’s two largest economies.

Instead, Brinken and other officials stressed the importance of establishing and maintaining better lines of communication between the United States and China.

The two sides announced that Mr. Qin had accepted Mr. Blinken’s invitation to visit Washington, but the Chinese government clarified that “Sino-US relations are at their lowest point since their establishment.”


US Secretary of State Antony Brinken (second from left) meets with China's top diplomat Wang Yi (second from right) at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.
US Secretary of State Antony Brinken (second from left) meets with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (second from right) at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.
APs

These sentiments are widely shared by U.S. officials.

The State Department said Mr. Brinken emphasized “the importance of maintaining diplomacy and open communication channels across all issues to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations.”

On the other hand, the Chinese side reiterated its position that the current state of relations “does not serve the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, nor does it meet the common expectations of the international community,” the Foreign Ministry said.


US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (center) walks as she arrives for a meeting with China's top diplomat Wang Yi (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023. .
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (center) walks as she arrives for a meeting with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023. .
APs

Blinken is the highest-level U.S. official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office, and his two-day visit was originally scheduled for China in February following the shooting down of a Chinese surveillance balloon over the United States. It took place after the visit plan was postponed.

Before leaving for Beijing, Mr. Blinken said Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi promised to improve communication “to ensure that communication is as clear as possible to avoid misunderstandings and misunderstandings.”

His meeting could pave the way for talks between Biden and Xi in the coming months.


US Secretary of State Antony Brinken (second from left) meets with China's top diplomat Wang Yi (second from right) at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.
US Secretary of State Antony Brinken (second from left) meets with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (second from right) at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.
APs

Biden said on Saturday that he hopes to meet with Xi in the coming months to discuss the many differences that divide the two countries.

That long list includes disagreements over trade with Taiwan, the human rights situation in China and Hong Kong, China’s military claims in the South China Sea, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

At Sunday’s meeting, Mr. Blinken urged China to release Americans in custody and take steps to curb production and exports of the fentanyl precursors that are fueling America’s opioid crisis.


US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (not pictured) heads for a meeting with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (not pictured) heads for a meeting with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.
APs

“The United States has made it clear that it will always defend the interests and values ​​of the American people and work with allies and partners to advance its vision of a world that is free, open and upholds the international rules-based order,” said Blinken. ‘ said the State Department.

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement, “China hopes that the United States will have an objective and reasonable understanding of China, cooperate with China in the same direction, safeguard the political foundation of China-US relations, and prevent unexpected and sporadic incidents in China.” We want to deal with what happened,” he said. Be calm, professional and reasonable. ”

In a meeting with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Friday, Xi said the U.S. and China could work together to “benefit both sides,” hinting at a possible willingness to de-escalate tensions.

Several high-level talks have taken place since Mr Blinken’s visit was canceled in February. CIA Director William Burns visited China in May and China’s Commerce Minister visited the United States.

And Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with China’s senior foreign policy adviser, Wang Yi, in Vienna in May.

But they were punctuated by the two countries’ fierce rhetoric over the Taiwan Strait, broader intentions in the Indo-Pacific, China’s refusal to accuse Russia of its war with Ukraine, and Washington’s claims that China is seeking to build up its military power. It is Global surveillance capabilities, including Cuba.

And earlier this month, China’s defense minister rejected US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s request to meet alongside a security symposium in Singapore, a sign of continued dissatisfaction.

Meanwhile, the national security advisers of the United States, Japan and the Philippines held their first joint meeting last week and agreed to step up defense cooperation as part of countering China’s growing influence and ambitions.

This comes at the same time that the Biden administration signed agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom to provide its first nuclear submarines, prompting China to expand its diplomatic presence, particularly in the Indian and Pacific island nations. and is moving rapidly, and China is opening or opening. It plans to open at least five new embassies in the next year.

The agreement is part of an 18-month nuclear partnership called ‘AUKUS’, which stands for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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