The US Secretary of State met the Chinese President on Monday to show a relaxation of relations between Beijing and Washington, while tensions are increasing between the two countries. Both sides, however, stressed that some disagreements remain deep.
As the issues of tension between China and the United States accumulate, the two countries are trying to take a step towards each other. Among the sticking points between the two powers: the question of the links between the United States and Taiwan, an island claimed by Beijing, the rivalry in technologies, the American sanctions targeting the Chinese digital giants, trade, the treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority in China or Chinese claims in the South China Sea.
It is in this context that the American Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, paid a visit to Beijing on Sunday and Monday. The US equivalent of the foreign secretary met with the Chinese Communist Party’s top official for diplomacy, Wang Yi, and then President Xi Jinping on Monday.
“Progress” and Disagreements
The latter praised during the meeting the “progress” and the “common ground” between Beijing and Washington, despite the tensions, in a video broadcast by public television CCTV. For his part, Blinken assured that the United States and China want to “stabilize” their relations, saying however “lucid” about the deep bilateral disagreements.
“We have no illusions about the challenges of managing this relationship. There are many issues on which we are in deep – even vehement – disagreement,” he said to the press.
The US Secretary of State said he raised several of these frictional issues, expressing Washington’s concern over the “provocative” actions in the Taiwan Strait, but also in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. Antony Blinken said Monday that the United States does not support Taiwanese independence.
China’s “unique position” against North Korea
Listing the other issues discussed with his Chinese interlocutors, the Secretary of State indicated that he had asked China to use its influence on North Korea so that it puts an end to its missile firing.
“It is in the interest of all members of the international community to encourage (North Korea) to act responsibly, to stop launching missiles and carrying out its nuclear program,” Blinken said. “China is in a unique position to push Pyongyang to engage in dialogue and end its dangerous behavior,” he said.
“The two sides have made progress (this Monday morning) and reached common ground on some specific points,” Xi Jinping said without specifying these points, calling the progress “very good thing”, according to a video. broadcast by public television CCTV.
“I hope that through this visit, Secretary of State Blinken will bring a positive result to the stabilization of relations between China and the United States,” Xi Jinping told his interlocutor.
“No concessions” on Taiwan
Monday morning, Wang Yi told Antony Blinken that Beijing and Washington, having reached a “critical moment” in their relations, had to choose “between dialogue and confrontation, cooperation and conflict”, according to CCTV. The Chinese official, who has the upper hand in China on Chinese foreign policy, also strongly reaffirmed his country’s position on the Taiwan issue.
China considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
“Maintaining national unity is always at the heart of China’s fundamental interests” and “on this issue, China will not make any compromises or concessions,” Wang Yi told Antony Blinken.
Beijing says it is opposed to what it perceives as a continuous rapprochement in recent years between Washington and the Taiwanese authorities, from a pro-independence party.
The two countries announced on Sunday that Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang had accepted an invitation from his American counterpart to visit the United States, on a date yet to be determined.
Source: BFM TV