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US-China Relations: Blinken and Wang Yi Address Tensions Amid Superpowers’ Complex Agenda

US-China Relations

During talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the two sides discussed issues such as China’s development, support for Russia, trade, and policy differences. Wang accused the US of suppressing China’s development, while Blinken raised concerns about China’s support for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Both sides acknowledged the need to address negative factors in their relationship, with Wang emphasizing the importance of stability and progress and urging the US not to interfere in China’s domestic affairs. Despite efforts to improve relations, differences persist between the two countries on various issues.

Key Concepts

  • China accuses the US of suppressing its development and urges improved relations.
  • The US raises concerns about China’s support for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
  • Talks between Blinken and Wang address trade, policy differences, and challenges in the relationship.
  • Both sides acknowledge the need to address negative factors in their relationship.
  • Blinken emphasizes the importance of face-to-face diplomacy to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Wang Yi urges stability and progress in the relationship to prevent a downward spiral.
  • China emphasizes its sovereignty and asks the US not to interfere in its domestic affairs.
  • The US is prepared to take action against Chinese companies aiding Russia’s defense industry.
  • Despite efforts to improve relations, differences persist between the US and China.
  • The US is considering options to address China’s industrial overcapacity.

Wang Yi said that the United States is suppressing China’s development. Blinken pointedly pointed out that China provided support for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday (April 26) that the United States is suppressing China’s development and urged the two countries not to “repeat the downward spiral.” Blinken directly mentioned China’s support for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine during the talks.

Blinken also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong that day.

This is Blinken’s second visit to China in less than a year. The trip is aimed at resolving issues such as trade and policy differences between the two superpowers.

Blinken and Wang Yi held a closed-door meeting and working lunch at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Friday as the two sides worked to maintain progress in relations amid a broad and complex agenda. U.S. officials said the two sides held about five and a half hours of “in-depth and constructive” talks.

During the meeting, Wang Yi told Blinken that “under the leadership of the two heads of state, China-U.S. relations have generally stopped falling and stabilized.” However, he also said that “negative factors in China-U.S. relations are still rising and accumulating, and they are facing various interferences. “China’s legitimate right to development has been unreasonably suppressed, and China’s core interests are constantly being challenged.”

At the start of the meeting, Blinken said his approach would be “very clear, very direct.” Blinken believes “aggressive diplomacy” is needed to advance the agenda set out by U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met in San Francisco last November.

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“In our judgment, there is no substitute for face-to-face diplomacy,” Blinken said, adding that he wanted to ensure “that we understand as clearly as possible the areas where we disagree and at least avoid misunderstandings to avoid miscalculation.”

During the talks, Wang Yi emphasized: “Whether China and the United States stick to the right path of stability and forward progress or return to the downward spiral is a major issue for both countries.”

He also elaborated on China’s position and asked “the United States not to interfere in China’s internal affairs, not to suppress China’s development, and not to step on China’s red lines when it comes to China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.” This obviously refers to Taiwan and the controversial South China Sea issue.

U.S. State Department officials signaled ahead of the meeting that China’s support for Russia would be a major focus of the talks and said Washington was prepared to take action against Chinese companies that have been helping restructure and resupply Russia’s defense industry. Officials confirmed that Blinken raised U.S. concerns about the issue directly with Wang during the talks.

Officials have said such aid could harm overall Sino-U.S. relations, which have continued since then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022 and the U.S. shooting down of a suspected Chinese drone in February 2023. Relations between the two countries have stabilized since the spy balloon.

Despite increasing exchanges between U.S. and Chinese high-level officials and working groups to address issues such as strengthening military communications and global trade, clear differences remain in the bilateral relationship.

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Hours before Blinken arrived in China on Wednesday, Biden signed a bipartisan bill that includes $8 billion to counter Chinese military power in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region, as well as $61 billion in defense aid to Ukraine.

The United States is also eager to see more progress on restricting China’s supply of chemicals used to make fentanyl. Blinken was accompanied by officials and envoys, including Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Todd Robinson and Ambassador-at-Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy Nathaniel Fick.

Before the talks, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also said that the Biden administration would not give up any options to deal with China’s industrial overcapacity. She said that China’s approach to achieving full employment through exports is unacceptable to other countries in the world.

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