Connect with us


China, US move closer to high-level official talks



The China and the United States governments are getting closer to resuming high-level dialogue as media reported that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Beijing within several weeks, or as soon as next week.

CNN reported on Tuesday that Blinken will travel to China in the coming weeks. Politico reported on Thursday that his trip may occur next week.

Beijing has so far refused to comment on Blinken’s itinerary. It said the US and China should maintain dialogue but Washington must show sincerity and stop “saying one thing but doing another.”

Some Chinese commentators said it shouldn’t be surprising if Blinken visits Beijing, given that there have been several rounds of talks between US and Chinese officials over the past month. But they said Beijing will have limited expectations for meetings with US officials.

If confirmed, Blinken’s trip will mark the highest-level visit of a US official to China since then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the country in 2018. It will show an easing of Sino-US political tensions, which have been heightened by the Chinese balloon incident in late January.

Due to rising hopesof a bilateral thaw between the world’s two largest economies, the Dow Jones index has increased 258 points, or 0.8%, to 33,833.61 on Wednesday and Thursday. The Shanghai Composite index has also surged by 31 points, or 1%, to 3,231.41 on Thursday and Friday.


Choosing sides  

On Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry called on all US diplomats to implement Blinken’s promise that Washington will not require other countries to choose sides between the US and China. 

“We hope US diplomatic missions around the world will truly treat other countries’ development of relations with China with an open and inclusive attitude, stop suppressing Chinese companies including Huawei Technologies everywhere, stop coercing allies to restrict chip exports to China, stop luring other countries to give up their cooperation with China and stop spreading false information such as ‘China’s debt trap’,” Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesperson, said in a regular media briefing on Friday.

US President George Washington. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

To describe the Sino-US relations, Wang used a quote from the first US president, George Washington, who said, “A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.”

“We care about what the US says, but we care even more about what actions it takes,” he said.

Prior to this, Wang said on Wednesday that China and the US should maintain necessary communication but the responsibility for the current challenges facing China-US relations does not lie with China.

“The US needs to respect China’s core interests and major concerns, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, stop harming China’s interests, and stop calling for communication on the one hand and making provocations on the other,” he said.

On Thursday, Blinken told the media during his visit to Saudi Arabia that the US is not asking anyone to choose between Washington and Beijing. He said Washington is only trying to demonstrate to other countries the benefits of having a partnership with the US. 

Last December, China and Saudi Arabia signed a series of strategy deals, including one involving Huawei, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to Riyadh. On March 10, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after years of tensions. Chinese media said Beijing had contributed to the talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran.


‘De-risking’ plan

On May 20, G7 leaders said in a joint statement that they have a common interest in preventing a narrow set of technological advances from being used by some countries to enhance their military and intelligence capabilities to undermine international peace and security. 

They said G7 countries are not decoupling with China but they also recognize that economic resilience requires “de-risking and diversifying.”

On Tuesday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned a network of seven individuals and six entities in Iran, China and Hong Kong in connection with Iran’s ballistic missile program. 

“As a Chinese saying goes, ‘Good faith makes good things happen.’ Dialogue should be based on mutual respect and aim for real results,” Xie Feng, China’s Ambassador to the US, told the American business community during an event of the US-China Business Council on Wednesday. 

“It surely is not the right way to seek dialogue and cooperation while putting the other on the sanction list,” he said. “Dialogue conducted only for its own sake will not work either. Saying one thing but doing another could only bring unintended results.”

“For high-level interactions, whole-process management is essential – fostering a good atmosphere in advance, accumulating outcomes in the process, and delivering on them afterwards,” he said.

He added that to many Chinese people, the word “de-risking” may be just another name for “decoupling.” He said the US should not use national security as an excuse for protectionism.


Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the US is trying to test China’s reaction to Blinken’s potential visit through media hype and is trying to shape its own image as a promoter for communication.

He said the series of actions recently taken by the US reflects Washington’s duplicity and self-contradiction.

China’s demands

In April, media reported that US President Joe Biden would sign an executive order to restrict US companies and private equity and venture capital funds from investing in China’s microchips, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology and clean energy projects and firms. But there has been no update so far.

On May 8, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns in Beijing. On May 11, top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi and US National security adviser Jake Sullivan met in Vienna. On May 25, China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in Washington, DC. The three meetings were described by both sides as candid and constructive.

“Proven by the three meetings, the tensions between the US and China have eased over the past one month,” a Guangdong-based commentator writes in an article published on Friday. “If US officials have to visit China, there is no harm for Chinese officials to meet them.”

“But when Blinken visits China, the Chinese government should issue an official warning to the Biden administration that if it continues to cross China’s red line over Taiwan issues and take extraordinary actions, the responsibility of shaking the Sino-US relations or causing military conflicts in the Western Pacific region will lie with the US,” the commentator says.

He says the Biden administration has not cancelled the extra tariffs and sanctions imposed on China but hopes that China will continue to buy US food, natural gas, airplanes and semiconductors, instead of purchasing goods from Brazil, Russia and France. He says Beijing must tell Americans that China will not purchase goods from countries that hurt its interest.


He adds that Blinken should answer why the Russian-Ukrainian conflicts have shown signs of spillover, which is bad news for Europe. He says problems will be resolved only if the US is willing to work with China.

Read: US-China trade talks end in more chip war salvos

Read: With Micron ban, China says no to ‘de-risking’

Follow Jeff Pao on Twitter at @jeffpao3


Source: Asia Times