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Blinken urges open lines of communication with China

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged for open lines of communication during his conversation with China’s foreign minister, in preparation for their upcoming face-to-face discussions in Beijing. Over the past few years, relations between the two largest economies in the world have deteriorated due to disputes over Taiwan, trade, human rights, and various other issues.

“Blinken’s visit to Beijing, scheduled for Sunday, aims to ease tensions after a previously planned trip was abruptly canceled in February. During his call with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, which occurred on Wednesday in Beijing time, Blinken emphasized the need to maintain open channels of communication and addressed both bilateral and global matters.”

“State Department spokesman Matthew Miller also highlighted Blinken’s emphasis on the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to responsibly manage the relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and to avoid miscalculations and conflicts.”

“Miller stated that Blinken made it clear that the United States would continue to utilize diplomatic engagements to address areas of concern and explore potential areas of cooperation.”

“A statement from Beijing portrayed a more confrontational stance, as Qin warned that the two countries had encountered “new difficulties and challenges” since the beginning of the year. The Chinese foreign ministry attributed responsibility to the United States, with Qin stating, “It’s clear who is responsible.” Qin added that China has always approached its relationship with the United States based on principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation as put forward by President Xi Jinping.”

“Blinken’s visit to Beijing will mark the first trip by a high-ranking US diplomat to China since his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, visited in October 2018. Presidents Joe Biden and Xi met in Bali in November and agreed to take measures to prevent tensions from escalating, including Blinken’s visit to Beijing.”

“However, Blinken canceled his earlier planned trip in February after the United States detected and subsequently shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over its mainland. Recently, both sides have made efforts to manage tensions, including a closed-door meeting between Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, and senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Vienna last month.”

“Biden has pursued limited areas of cooperation with China, particularly regarding climate change, in contrast to the more adversarial position taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump, towards the end of his administration. Nevertheless, the two countries still have significant disagreements on multiple issues.”

“Last week, the White House accused China of maintaining an intelligence unit in Cuba for several years and enhancing its presence on the Caribbean island in 2019. This establishment, located just 90 miles (150 kilometers) off the southern coast of Florida, is perceived by Washington as a direct challenge to the United States. When questioned about this base during a regular press briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed to be unaware of the situation before criticizing US policy regarding Cuba.”

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