In a phone conversation with China’s foreign minister on Wednesday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken advocated for open communication channels and expressed anticipation for upcoming face-to-face meetings in Beijing.
In recent years, relations between the world’s two greatest economies have deteriorated for a variety of reasons, including Taiwan, trade, and human rights, amongst a plethora of other issues.
After a previously planned visit that was unexpectedly canceled in February, Blinken is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Sunday for discussions that are aimed at easing concerns.
Blinken stated that he and the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang “discussed ongoing efforts to maintain open channels of communication as well as bilateral and global issues” during their call that took place on Wednesday, Beijing time.
According to a spokesman for the State Department named Matthew Miller, Blinken had emphasized “the importance of maintaining open lines of communication in order to responsibly manage the US-PRC relationship in order to avoid miscalculation and conflict.”
According to Miller, Blinken “made it clear that the United States would continue to use diplomatic engagements to raise areas of concern as well as areas of potential cooperation.”
According to a readout of the call given in Beijing, the tone of the conversation took a more combative turn when Qin was reported to have cautioned that relations between the two nations had experienced “new difficulties and challenges” since the beginning of the year.
According to the Chinese foreign ministry, Qin was quoted as saying, “It’s clear who is responsible for this.”
“China has always viewed and managed China-US relations in accordance with the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation put forward by President Xi Jinping,” he continued. “These principles have been put forward by President Xi Jinping.”
– Blinken in Beijing – The journey that Blinken is planning to take to Beijing would be the first visit by a senior US official to China since Mike Pompeo, Blinken’s predecessor, made the trip in October 2018.
In November, Presidents Joe Biden and Xi met in Bali and vowed to attempt to keep tensions from spiraling out of hand, including by sending Blinken to Beijing. This was one of the agreements that came out of the meeting.
However, Blinken abruptly canceled a trip that was supposed to take place at the beginning of February when the United States said that it had spotted and then shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that was traveling over the continental United States.
In recent times, both parties have made renewed efforts to keep tensions under control. One example of this is a long discussion held behind closed doors between Vice President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, and senior Chinese official Wang Yi in Vienna, Austria, one month ago.
In contrast to the more fully antagonistic attitude that was taken toward China toward the conclusion of the term of his predecessor Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden has sought out limited areas for cooperation with China on issues such as climate change.
However, the two nations continue to have significant disagreements on a wide range of topics.
The White House stated in a statement this week that China is running an intelligence unit in Cuba and has been doing so for years. In 2019, the White House claims that China updated this unit in an effort to increase its presence on the Caribbean island.
A facility in Cuba, which is located approximately 150 kilometers (90 miles) off the southern tip of Florida, would be regarded as a direct menace to the continental United States if it were established near Washington.
When the spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, was asked about the base during a routine press briefing, he responded that he was “unaware of the situation” before criticizing the United States’ policies toward Cuba.