China, US agree to stabilize ties during Blinken visit to Beijing

Update1: Changes headline, reledes, adds detail throughout

Beijing, Jun 19 (EFE).- China and the United States agreed to work towards stabilizing their bilateral relationship as Chinese president Xi Jinping met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing on Monday.

Blinken is the highest-ranking US official to visit the Asian country since Joe Biden took office in January 2021, amid tensions between the two powers over Taiwan, the war in Ukraine, and trade.

“I hope that, through this visit, Mr. Secretary, you will make more positive contributions to stabilizing China-US relations,” Xi told Blinken on the US official’s last day of a two-day trip aimed at stabilizing bilateral relations.

“The two sides have also made progress and reached agreement on some specific issues. This is very good,” Xi was quoted as saying by Chinese state media.

Blinken described his conversation with Xi as “important” and said “we both agree on the need to stabilize our relationship.”

“Both the United States and China have an obligation to manage this relationship responsibly,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting. “Doing so serves the best interests of the US and China, and indeed of the world.”

“I came here to Beijing to strengthen the high level channels of communication, to make clear our positions and intentions in areas of disagreement and to explore areas where we might work together,” the US secretary of state added.

On Taiwan, Blinken insisted that Washington respected the “longstanding” One China policy but said he had raised concerns over Beijing’s “provocative actions in the Taiwan Strait as well as in the South and East China Seas.”

“We do not support Taiwan independence, we would remain opposed to any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side. We continue to expect the peaceful resolution of cross-strait differences,” the US secretary of state added.

Xi said that “major-country competition does not represent the trend of the times, still less can it solve America’s own problems or the challenges facing the world,” according to Xinhua.

The Chinese president also warned Washington of the need to respect “China’s legitimate rights and interests” and “legitimate right to development.”

Blinken welcomed the growth in trade flows between Washington and Beijing, which this year reached a record $700 billion, and said that “China’s economic success is also in our interest.”

“It would be disastrous for us to decouple,” Blinken said, before adding that despite the positive data the US would continue to push for the interests of American companies operating in China by urging Beijijng to work towards a level playing field.

“We have no illusions about the challenges of managing this relationship, there are many issues on which we profoundly, even vehemently disagree,” Blinken said.

“But the US has a long history of successfully managing complicated, consequential relationships through diplomacy (…) and it’s in both our interest and the interests of the world that we do so,” the US official concluded.

The bilateral meeting was not part of Blinken’s official travel agenda and was confirmed at the last minute, Xinhua reported.

Blinken’s meeting with Xi after the US secretary of state met earlier on Monday with China’s former foreign minister Wang — now the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee — who underscored Beijing’s unwavering stance on the Taiwan issue.

“Safeguarding national unification will always be the core of China’s core interests, it concerns the fate of all Chinese people, and it is the unswerving historical mission of the CPC,” Wang said, according to a readout from the meeting published by the state-owned Global Times newspaper.

“On the Taiwan question, China has no room for compromise and concession,” he added.

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