The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is set to conclude his exceptional trip to Beijing, China
During his trip, Blinken met with top Chinese officials to discuss a range of issues, including human rights, trade, and regional security.
The talks were described as frank and candid, with both sides expressing their concerns and priorities. Despite the challenges, Blinken expressed optimism about the potential for cooperation between the two nations.
As he prepares to depart, he will continue to work towards building a constructive and stable relationship with China.
Blinken is to meet China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, on Monday, but all eyes will be on whether he also meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping as the meeting is yet to be confirmed by the State Department.
While both sides said Sunday’s talks were constructive, they seemed to agree on little beyond keeping the conversation going with an eventual meeting in Washington, and working to make it easier for their citizens to visit each other’s countries.
Speaking after a 5-1/2 hour meeting followed by a dinner, U.S. and Chinese officials both emphasized their desire for stable and predictable relations.
But China also made clear that Taiwan is the most important issue, and a potentially dangerous one.
Sino-U.S. ties have deteriorated across the board in recent years, raising concern the two might one day clash militarily over the self-governed island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
Especially alarming for China’s neighbours has been Beijing’s reluctance to engage in regular military-to-military talks with Washington.
Making the first visit to China since U.S. President Joe Biden took office, Blinken stressed “the need to reduce the risk of misperception and miscalculation” in his talks with Qin, the State Department said.
Blinken is the first U.S. secretary of state to visit China in five years.
Prior to the discussions, US officials saw little hope of resolving the major disagreements between the world’s largest countries.
Officials and analysts in the United States anticipate that Blinken’s visit will prepare the way for further bilateral meetings in the coming months, including travels by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
It might also pave the way for talks between Xi and Biden at later-in-the-year global summits.