Thursday, June 20, 2024

Beijing-Washington relations hit all-time lowest: China’s FM

Beijing-Washington relations have hit the lowest level since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang said at a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“As of today, relations between China and the United States are the lowest level since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. It is not in the interests of the peoples of China and the United States,” China’s Central Television quoted him as saying.

According to Qin, political strains between Beijing and Washington are advantageous for other countries. He stressed that his country’s authorities “have been consistently pursuing a consistent and stable policy” toward the US. In his words, China wants peaceful development and cooperation on a mutually beneficial basis.

“We hope that the American side will have an objective and rational position toward China,” he added.

Blinken is visiting China from June 18-19. His visit was initially planned for February but the visit did not take place due to the incident with a Chinese balloon, which was shot down by a US missile within the US airspace. Beijing claimed that it was a meteorological blimp but Washington insisted that the balloon had been used to collect “sensitive information.”

This is the first visit by a top US diplomat to China since October 2018.

China demands the United States stick to the principle of one China and refrain from helping separatists in Taiwan, Qin stated.

“We insist that the United States adhere to the one-China principle and bilateral agreements, implement its commitments concerning the refusal from supporting activists of the so-called movement for Taiwan’s independence,” he continued.

According to the Chinese minister, the Taiwan issues is an important problem that affects China’s key interests and is linked with “the most obvious risks.”

Taiwan has been governed by its local administration since 1949 when the Kuomintang’s remaining forces headed by Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) were defeated in the Chinese Civil War and took refuge on the island. Taiwan has preserved the flag and several other symbols of the Republic of China that had existed before the Communists took over the mainland. According to China’s official position supported by most countries, including Russia, the Island of Taiwan is one of China’s provinces.

Blinken’s Sunday meeting with Qin, which stretched more than five hours and then wrapped with a working dinner, resulted in progress “on a number of fronts,” with both sides showing a “desire to reduce tensions,” a senior State Department official told reporters Sunday.

“Profound differences” between the US and China, however, were also clear during the meeting, the official added.

Blinken also met with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi at the start of the second and final day of a rare visit to Beijing on Monday, aimed at preventing the many disagreements between the rival powers from spiraling into conflict.

The two top diplomats shook hands inside a red-carpeted hall at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing, before talks that State Department officials said lasted for around three hours.

During the meeting, Yi focused on analyzing the essence of the Taiwan issue, emphasizing that there is no room for any compromise for China on this matter. He stressed that Beijing will not compromise on the issue of Taiwan, and Washington must respect China’s sovereignty.

The US must genuinely adhere to the one-China principle established in the three joint US-China communiques, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and clearly oppose Taiwan independence, the top official added.

Yi also noted that the United States should make a choice between dialogue and confrontation, cooperation and conflict.

“The secretary of state’s trip to Beijing comes at a critical time in Sino-US relations, a choice must be made between dialogue and confrontation, cooperation and conflict,” he continued.

He also said that as history moves forward, Sino-US relations should move forward as well.

“We must show responsibility to the people, history, the world, reverse the downward trend in China-US relations, and work together to find ways for the US and China to get along in a new era,” he added.

All eyes will be on whether Blinken will also meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping later in the day, an engagement sources familiar with the matter said was expected but was yet to be confirmed by the State Department or Chinese officials.

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