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'Negative' factors building in US-China ties, foreign minister Wang tells Blinken

Secretary of State Blinken is due to spend several hours with Wang in closed-door meetings at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse as well as a working lunch, as the two sides try to maintain progress in ties despite a broad and complex agenda.
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 06:27 IST
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 06:27 IST

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Beijing: The United States is suppressing China's development, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday during talks with his US counterpart Antony Blinken who is on a visit to Beijing aimed at resolving trade and policy differences between the superpowers.

Secretary of State Blinken is due to spend several hours with Wang in closed-door meetings at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse as well as a working lunch, as the two sides try to maintain progress in ties despite a broad and complex agenda.

As the pair settled into their opening session, Wang told Blinken that the "giant ship" of the China-US relationship had stabilised, "but negative factors in the relationship are still increasing and building".

"And the relationship is facing all kinds of disruptions. China's legitimate development rights have been unreasonably suppressed and our core interests are facing challenges," he said.

Blinken replied that "active diplomacy" was needed to move forward with the agenda set by President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping when they met in San Francisco in November.

"There's no substitute in our judgement for face-to-face diplomacy," Blinken said, adding that he wanted to ensure that "we're as clear as possible about the areas where we have differences, at the very least to avoid misunderstandings, to avoid miscalculations".

Blinken and Wang met in a guesthouse which is part of a sprawling complex of villas, lakes and gardens where many foreign dignitaries, including the then-US President Richard Nixon, have been received.

US State Department officials signalled ahead of the sessions that China's support for Russia would feature strongly, saying that Washington is prepared to act against Chinese companies that have been helping retool and resupply Russia's defence industry.

They have said that such assistance risks hurting the broader China-US relationship, even as ties stabilise after being hit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in 2022 and the US downing of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon in February 2023.

Despite increasing high-level exchanges and working groups tackling issues such as enhanced military communication and global trade, stark differences remain.

Hours before Blinken landed in China on Wednesday, Biden signed a biapartisan bill that included $8 billion to counter China's military might, as well as billions in defence aid for Taiwan and $61 billion for Ukraine.

The disputed South China Sea also remains a flashpoint, while the US is eager to see more progress on the curbing of China's supply of the chemicals to used to make fentanyl.

Todd Robinson, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and Nathaniel Fick, ambassador-at-large for cyberspace, are among the officials and envoys accompanying Blinken.

Wang laid out China's position, saying the US must not step on "red lines" covering sovereignty, security and development interests - an apparent reference to Taiwan, the democratically-governed island that China claims as its own, and the disputed South China Sea.

Blinken is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping today before he returns to Washington in the evening, although neither side has yet confirmed a meeting.

He is also meeting China's minister of public security, Wang Xiaohong.

Ahead of the talks, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also signalled that the Biden administration was not taking any options off the table to respond to China's excess industrial capacity.

Yellen told Reuters Next in an interview in Washington that China exporting its way to full employment is not acceptable to the rest of the world.

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Published 26 April 2024, 06:27 IST

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