Insights from Blinken’s go to to Beijing

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping on June 19, 2023 in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Leah Millis | Afp | Getty Images

US President Joe Biden said Secretary of State Antony Blinken “did a hell of a job” in Beijing.

His comments came after Blinken’s high-profile diplomatic mission to China aimed at calming strained relations with Beijing.

“We’re on the right track here,” Biden said on Monday.

In a surprise meeting, Blinken met Chinese President Xi Jinping for a 35-minute meeting near the end of his two-day visit. He is the most senior American official to visit China in nearly five years.

When asked if he thought progress had been made in the Blinken-Xi meeting, the US President replied: “You don’t have to ask that. You can ask how much progress has been made.”

During the visit, Blinken also met with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

Here are more takeaways from Blinken’s trip to China:

progress made

Biden wasn’t the only one seeing progress in the talks.

“The two sides have agreed to follow the joint understanding that President Biden and I reached in Bali,” Xi said in a video transmitted by Chinese state media CCTV.

Both sides also “made progress and reached an agreement on some specific issues,” he said, without giving further details. “That’s very good.”

Demanded stable ties with the US, Xi said the world needs a “generally stable” relationship between the two economic giants.

The US State Department described the talks as “open, substantive and constructive”.

door to future conversations

Blinken’s meeting could pave the way for Biden to meet Xi in November.

“Both sides agreed to hold further high-level meetings in Washington and Beijing to continue open lines of communication,” the State Department said.

The foreign minister invited Qin to visit the United States and they agreed to arrange a return visit at a mutually convenient time, the statement said.

Though no date was announced, they agreed to maintain high-level exchanges, according to the Chinese government.

The talks between Qin and Blinken have been “largely positive” based on both nations’ findings, said Mark Hannah, a senior fellow at the Eurasia Group Foundation.

“While much is omitted from these official reports, the language each side chooses to characterize the meetings is indicative of the tone that was struck,” Hannah told CNBC.


Chinese state media quoted Xi as saying, “Great power competition is not in keeping with the trend of the times, let alone solving America’s own problems and the challenges facing the world.”

Bonnie Gasler, executive director of the Indo-Pacific program at the German Marshall Fund, said this point in Xi’s speech was “problematic”.

“In my view, it will not be possible to stabilize the bilateral relationship unless Beijing accepts that competition is now the dominant feature of US-China relations and requires active and effective management,” Gasler told CNBC.

The Biden administration has tried to persuade the Chinese to accept competition as a pillar of the relationship and the importance of working together to manage competition and “prevent competition from ending in conflict.” , Gasler tweeted.

The US-China tech rivalry has also intensified in recent months, with the US blocking China’s access to advanced chip technology and China banning key infrastructure operators from buying products from US tech giant Micron.

According to a statement by People’s Daily, Wang called on the US to abandon its so-called “China threat theory,” lift sanctions against China, and stop suppressing China’s technological development. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on China’s statement.

Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute for China and the US at the Wilson Center, acknowledged the likelihood of war was remote but said the rivalry would continue.

“There is a common decision, a common realization that we must not go to war, but both countries will continue to compete in all balances of power around the world, barring war in any case,” Daly told CNBC ahead of Xi’s meeting with blinking.

Status quo on Taiwan

Blinken also said he raised concerns about China’s “provocative actions in the Taiwan Strait and the South and East China Seas.”

But he tried to reassure Beijing: “As for Taiwan, I have reiterated the US’ long-standing ‘one China’ policy. This policy has not changed.”

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory that needs to be reunited with the mainland. Beijing has never shied away from using force against Taiwan and is using increasingly aggressive rhetoric towards the island.

“We do not support Taiwan independence. We remain opposed to any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side. We continue to await the peaceful settlement of cross-strait differences,” Blinken said, adding that Washington remains committed to the Taiwan Relations Act. That includes ensuring Taiwan has the ability to defend itself.

In his meeting with Blinken on Monday, Wang stressed that “maintaining national unity will always be at the core of China’s core interests.” He added that the US “respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is firmly opposed to ‘Taiwan independence.’ have to say.”

Tensions can still arise

However, geopolitical tensions may remain elevated.

“The threat assessments of both countries are declining. They haven’t changed their threat assessments. We haven’t changed our intentions. We haven’t changed our tactics,” Daly told CNBC ahead of the Xi Blinken meeting.

“These dialogues are great, the more we have the better – but to date there’s no sign of either side actually changing their assessments of themselves towards the other,” Daly told Squawk Box Asia on Monday ‘ by CNBC.

The State Department said Blinken emphasized that the US will always stand up for Americans’ values, addressing China’s “unfair and unmarketable practices and recent actions against US firms.”

According to the research organization, the US and China have not changed their mutual threat assessments

Xi maintained his stance that the US must respect China and “do not harm China’s legitimate rights and interests,” adding that Beijing will also respect US interests “and will neither challenge nor replace the US.”

“Neither party can shape the other according to its own desires, much less deprive the other of their legitimate right to development,” Xi said.

You might also like

Comments are closed.