US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in China for his much-anticipated visit. As reported by Chinese state television, Blinken landed in Beijing on Sunday.
A series of meetings with senior Chinese officials are planned during the two-day visit. According to US information, Blinken should first meet his Chinese colleague Qin Gang on Sunday afternoon. Later there will be dinner together. The goal is open communication so that both countries can shape their relationships responsibly, Blinken said before he left.
Ballon affair halted the visit
Against the background of the strict Chinese corona measures, but also because of the very tense relations, there had been no visit by a US Secretary of State to Beijing since 2018. It is Blinken’s first trip to China since he took office. He is making up for the visit that was postponed at the beginning of February due to the balloon affair and allegations of espionage against China.
The relationship between the two countries is at a low point. Among other things, China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, Beijing’s threats against Taiwan and the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries are causing contention. President Joe Biden’s government sees China as the greatest geopolitical challenge and is taking a tough stance on Beijing. China, in turn, accuses the United States of hegemonic ambitions. Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, signaled willingness to talk ahead of Blinken’s arrival, but provided conditions.
Sharp sounds from Beijing
The US should stop “saying one thing and doing another,” Wang Wenbin said. Washington should also stop fantasizing about a “position of strength” vis-à-vis China. The People’s Republic is committed to a gradual return of relations to a “stable development path”.
Shortly before Blinken’s arrival in Beijing, US President Joe Biden promised a meeting with President Xi Jinping in the near future. “I hope to meet with Xi again in the coming months and talk about legitimate differences that we have, but also about areas where we can get along,” Biden said on a trip to Philadelphia in the US on Saturday -State of Pennsylvania. Biden downplayed the incident of the Chinese balloon shot down by the US: He doesn’t think the leadership in Beijing knew where the balloon was or how it was equipped. “I think it was more embarrassing than intended.”
haz/kle (dpa, rtr)