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‘Stable China-US ties will benefit both sides’
Published on: Saturday, October 28, 2023
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‘Stable China-US ties will benefit both sides’
Blinken with Chinese FM Wang Yi prior to meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON: China’s top diplomat voiced hope for more stable relations with the United States after months of turbulence as he paid a rare trip to Washington to prepare a potential visit by President Xi Jinping.

President Joe Biden has invited Xi to San Francisco next month to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, but he has also stood firm on China in the run-up, keeping up a stream of targeted sanctions and staunchly backing US allies in disputes with Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began by meeting Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who told his guest that he looked forward to “constructive conversations” that included a closed-door dinner.

Wang told Blinken, who paid a visit to Beijing in June, that China wanted to “reduce misunderstanding.”

China seeks to “expand common ground and pursue co-operation that will benefit both sides so that we can stabilise US-China relations and return them to the track of healthy, stable and sustainable development,” Wang said.

Acknowledging that differences will still come up, Wang said that China would respond “calmly, because we are of the view that what is right and what is wrong is not determined by who has the stronger arm or the louder voice.”

On Friday, Wang will speak at the White House with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. No meeting has been announced with Biden, but an encounter is widely expected after Xi received Blinken in Beijing.

US officials have repeatedly spoken of creating “guardrails” with China to prevent worst-case scenarios and have sought, without success, to restore contact between the two militaries.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken’s meeting with Wang was part of efforts to “maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage US-China relations,” but added: “The United States will continue to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners.”

Biden on Wednesday warned China of US treaty obligations to the Philippines, which said that Chinese vessels deliberately hit Manila’s boats in dispute-rife waters—an account contested by Beijing.

Speaking alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Biden vowed to compete with China in “every way according to the international rules—economically, politically, in other ways. But I’m not looking for conflict.”

Tensions have been particularly high over Taiwan, the self-ruling democracy claimed by Beijing which over the past year has launched major military exercises in response to actions by US lawmakers.

China’s defence ministry on Thursday accused Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party of pushing the island toward a “dangerous situation of war.” 

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