Friday, May 24, 2024

Secretary Blinken Holds Talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Washington, DC — In a significant diplomatic meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken held a series of extensive discussions with China’s Director of the CCP Central Foreign Affairs Commission and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on October 26-27. The discussions, which lasted for more than seven hours, were aimed at maintaining open lines of communication and addressing various aspects of the U.S.-China relationship.

During the discussions, Secretary Blinken emphasized the United States’ commitment to using diplomacy to advance its interests and values. He stressed the importance of both nations managing their differences responsibly and cooperating on issues of mutual concern, highlighting the need to resume military-to-military channels to reduce the risk of miscalculation.

Blinken also prioritized the resolution of cases involving American citizens wrongfully detained or subject to exit bans in China.

The talks covered a broad spectrum of issues, including the global flow of synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals into the United States, particularly those contributing to the fentanyl crisis. 

The development of principles to guide the bilateral relationship, as discussed by Presidents Biden and Xi in Bali last November, was a key point of discussion. Strengthening people-to-people exchanges between students, scholars, and businesses, including increasing the number of direct flights between the two countries, was welcomed by both sides.

Human rights concerns in Xinjiang (aka East Turkestan), Tibet, and Hong Kong were raised by Blinken, along with economic policies focused on “healthy and robust economic competition” based on reciprocity and a level playing field for U.S. workers and businesses. He addressed the PRC’s unfair treatment of U.S. companies, nonmarket economic practices, and clarified that U.S. policies were targeted at technologies with national security or human rights implications, not aimed at containing China’s economic growth. 

China’s continuing malign activities in the US market has gained a growing attention among lawmakers. In a recent Congressional hearing held by Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, Roger Robinson, Founder and Chairman of the Prague Security Studies Institute said, “…Those Chinese CCP-controlled companies that fail to meet these sensible criteria should be delisted and de-registered from U.S. exchanges (including the Over-the-Counter market) in no more than 180 days, and Americans worldwide should be prohibited from holding their securities including via ETFs, mutual funds, and other passive investment products…” According to a Reuters report, 42 Chinese companies were added on the governmental export control list for their support for the Russian military. 

In addition to bilateral issues, the talks touched on regional and global matters. The U.S. reiterated its support for Israel’s right to defend itself and called for unequivocal denunciation of Hamas’s terrorist attacks. Secretary Blinken also discussed U.S. efforts to enable humanitarian assistance and protect civilian lives. 

After its role in brokering “peace” between Iran and Saudi Arabia earlier this year, China seems to be much more mindful in its approach to the conflict. Condemnation of Hamas may place China at odds with some of its closest allies, particularly with Iran. According to an Iran International report, Iranian support for Hamas comes with a generous amount of financial and logistical support. IRGC Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri also widely boasted of the massive tunnel system that Hamas militants utilized to attack Israel and assured a level of survival for the terrorist networks.

Other global concerns such as Russia’s war against Ukraine and the DPRK’s missile launches, in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, were part of the discussions. The U.S. expressed its concerns regarding China’s actions obstructing a Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, as well as broader concerns in the South and East China Seas. 

Blinken, however, did not take a stronger approach regarding China’s aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea and its expansion in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific nations such as the Solomon Islands have faced a continual degradation of democracy since its diplomatic switch from Taipei to Beijing in 2019. In the case of Malaita, Solomon Island’s biggest province, former governor Daniel Suidani was removed for his criticism of the government’s close ties with Beijing.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining open lines of communication across a wide range of issues and look forward to further engagements and consultations in the coming weeks, covering areas like arms control, maritime concerns, policy planning, and disability issues. The importance of cooperation on shared challenges, including climate, global macroeconomic stability, food security, public health, and counternarcotics, was also emphasized.

 

Author profile
Se Hoon Kim
Assignment Editor/Senior Correspondent, East and South Asia

Se Hoon Kim is the Assignment Editor and Senior Correspondent, East and South Asia at Global Strat View. He is also a columnist for the Sunday Guardian.

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