The acronym “US Secretary of State” was on the plane’s door as it opened, immediately followed by Anthony Blinken coming down the stairs and waving to waiting delegations of US and Chinese officials. This is a scene that occurred Sunday morning at Beijing airport and could mean a major event, according to our Beijing correspondent, Stephane Lagarde. However, the American official was not greeted with a red carpet, as the Chinese government was responsible for determining that it was not an invitation, but a mutually agreed visit.
Since the United States shot down some spy balloons from China on its territory in February 2023, the already tense relations have worsened, but then they have softened their tone through marathon diplomatic negotiations: the Americans don’t even talk about sanctions anymore, nor about spy balloons, especially.
According to the official Chinese press, the preparatory phone call for this meeting between Anthony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, Chen Gang, revealed that there are still important differences. According to what can be read, “The United States should not delude itself that it can negotiate with China from a position of strength.” This non-diplomatic language is not new, and it has been going on for two years now, when officials from both countries met in Anchorage, Alaska.
reassure the world
Anthony Blinken knows full well that the instability of relations between China and the United States keeps “the world on edge,” Carrie Naughton, RFI’s New York correspondent, tells us.
The two largest economies on the planet differ on issues such as human rights, technology trade, and arms sales to Taiwan. China regards US ships passing near the Taiwan Strait or US officials visiting Taiwan as provocations. “This visit will not be feasible if no agreement is reached on Taiwan,” the newspaper said. Global Timesa newspaper affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party.
For his part, the US Secretary of State intends on this trip to implement crisis management mechanisms. South Korea and Japan, China’s neighbors, are very concerned that Beijing has cut off military media. Washington knows that Beijing is being hard-headed on this issue, so it doesn’t expect any progress on it.
Given the difficulties encountered in that first meeting, the goal will then be to re-establish dialogue and schedule new bilateral meetings, and even a meeting between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in the following months.