Bloomberg – Chinese President Xi Jinping told US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken thatIt is “very good” that both countries made progress in straightening bilateral relations during the latter’s visit to Beijing.
“I hope that through this visit, Mr. Minister, you will make more positive contributions to the stability of Sino-US relations.”Xi informed the US diplomat on Monday, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
The two sides also made progress and reached agreements on some specific issues. “This is very good,” he said, without elaborating, according to a transcript of the meeting released by the US State Department.
For his part, Blinken told the Chinese president that it was in the “best interest of the world” for relations to stabilize, and He described his talks with senior officials as “sincere” and “productive”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying attended the meeting with other senior officials including US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
The positive tone emanating from Blinken’s high-profile visit to Beijing will raise expectations that relations between the two superpowers can reach more stable footing.US allies and some of China’s largest trading partners have been caught in the crossfire of severed relations.
Blinken’s meeting with Xi also sets the stage for direct talks between Xi and Biden later this year.. The State Department said Chen on Sunday accepted an invitation to visit Washington, after 7 1/2 hours of talks with Blinken that both sides described as “productive” and “frank”.
Henry Wang, founder of the Center for China and Globalization, said Blinken’s visit will be a catalyst for more bilateral interactions between the two countries.. US President Joe Biden said on Saturday that he “looks forward to meeting with Xi again in the coming months.”
“Blinken lays the foundation for future interactions between different levels of government, the business community, and the world of academia and research,” Wang added. “It brought a period of stabilization and easing of tensions at least in the second half of the year.”
Relations between the United States and China fell to their lowest point in decades in February, After an alleged Chinese spy balloon traversed US airspace, prompting Biden to cancel a trip to Beijing. Since then, the Biden administration has worked to restore relations with China to reduce the risk that misunderstandings could lead to conflict between the two nuclear powers.
Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu refused to meet with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin until Washington lifted sanctions on him. The US and Chinese militaries recently witnessed two clashes between warships and aircraft in the region that the Pentagon described as “dangerous”, highlighting the dangers of not speaking out.
Xi also has reason to want to de-escalate tensions. Beijing faces an increasingly difficult geopolitical landscape as the United States denies China’s access to high-tech chips to thwart its military advance and presses Xi to condemn Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Geopolitical tensions are also deterring foreign investment, while the Chinese economy faces domestic headwinds.
“The Chinese economy is not in good shape,” George Magnus, a research associate at Oxford University’s China Center, told Bloomberg TV. “He wants to attract partners from the Global South and be seen as constructive.”
Blinken, the highest-ranking US official to visit China in five years, is making his trip at a turbulent time, with the two sides at loggerheads over everything from human rights and technology to trade and arms sales to Taiwan.
On Sunday, China’s foreign minister told Blinken that Taiwan is China’s “core core interests” and the “most prominent danger” in Sino-US relations. China’s chief of diplomacy, Wang Yi, added on Monday that there can be no “compromise” on the island, which Beijing considers a breakaway territory that it should take back by force if necessary.
Wang told Blinken during a three-hour meeting on Monday that his visit came at a “critical” time in US-China relations, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
Blinken’s visit became one of the 10 most talked about topics on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-like social network, after Xi’s comments Monday afternoon, with related hashtags garnering millions of views. And under photos of Xi shaking hands with Blinken, some users called for US-China relations to “get back on track.”
This response contrasts with the beginning of Blinken’s visit, When Weibo users pointed out that the US official was greeted with red stripes on the asphalt instead of on the red carpet, Chinese state media gave low-key coverage of his trip.
Although Xi did not specify what deals Blinken had in China, there had already been signs of progress on concrete issues since previous meetings.
On Sunday, the two sides said they had discussed increasing flights between the two countries, many of which have been cut during the Covid pandemic.. They also agreed to encourage educational exchanges, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the possibility of more student visas emerging.
China’s state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday that Xi told Blinken that he believes the two countries can overcome their difficulties to find a way to get along on the basis of mutual respect. He added that China hopes to achieve a strong and stable relationship with the United States.
Drew Thompson, a visiting fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, said that while Xi’s comments were positive, it remains to be seen how the US side will interpret the two-day mission.
“Compared to March, when Xi was criticizing the US by name, the friendly tone can be seen as positive,” Thompson said. “But how Xi defines ‘progress’ and how the United States defines it is likely to be very different.”
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