Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for talks in Beijing on Monday, the culmination of two days of high-level talks with Chinese officials.

The trip marks the highest-level visit by a U.S. official to China in nearly five years, at a time when relations between the world’s two largest economies have entered choppy waters.


What we know about the meeting

Xi told Blinken he hoped the visit would help smooth relations.

“The two sides have had candid and in-depth discussions,” Xi said at the start of the meeting in comments broadcast on Chinese state television.

“I hope that through this visit, Mr. secretary, you will make more positive contributions to stabilizing China-U.S. relations,” Xi added, addressing Blinken.

“State-to-state interaction should always be based on mutual respect and sincerity,” Xi said.

A Blinken-Xi meeting had been on the cards, but neither side had confirmed it would happen until about an hour before the talks. The U.S. state secretary’s discussion with the Chinese leader was seen as key to the success of the trip.

A snub here would have been a setback to the effort to restore talks at senior levels.

Meanwhile, Germany’s president on Monday underlined the “special importance” of relations between the U.S. and China, as he hosted Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang for talks in Berlin.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for the “strengthening of communication channels between both countries,” saying that the economic giants’ ties were crucial for “global security and cooperation.” 

Blinken meets with Wang

Blinken had earlier held talks with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday, the second and final day of his visit to China.

At the meeting with Wang, which lasted for around three hours, the Chinese diplomat told Blinken that the root cause of the worsening relations was Washington’s incorrect perception of China. 

“We must take a responsible attitude toward the people, history and the world, and reverse the downward spiral of U.S.-China relations,” Wang said, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Blinken’s visit has been marked with critical meetings with senior Chinese officials as the two sides expressed willingness to talk.

The two officials shook hands at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing. Neither Blinken nor Wang made any comments to reporters as they greeted each other before sitting for their discussion. 

Wang, whose position in the Communist Party ranks above the foreign minister, told Blinken that there is “no room for compromise” and concessions on the Taiwan issue, state media reported. He emphasized that maintaining national unity will always be at the core of China’s interests.

“The United States must truly adhere to the One China principle confirmed in the three joint U.S.-China communiques, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and clearly oppose ‘Taiwan independence,’” state media reported him saying.

“It is necessary to make a choice between dialogue and confrontation, cooperation or conflict,” Wang said.


Tense relations

Taking to Twitter, Blinken posted pictures of the meeting and said the discussions were “on a range of bilateral and global issues that affect people at home and around the world.”

Blinken was originally due to visit China in February, but the trip was postponed after the US shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon flying over the country.

Meanwhile, tensions have continued to rise over Taiwan, the South China Sea, and Russia’s war in Ukraine. The U.S. and China have also stepped up their rivalry in the global semiconductor industry.

Blinken on Sunday met Foreign Minister Qin Gang for seven and a half hours, with both sides agreeing to keep communication lines open to avoid an all-out conflict. 

mk,rc/wd (AP, AFP, Reuters)

This article was originally published on Deutsche Welle. Read the original article here.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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