September 24, 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken began high-stakes conferences in Beijing on Sunday amid tensions between China and the USA.

Blinken met with Chinese language International Minister Qin Gang and can attend a working dinner with the international minister. Blinken spoke on the cellphone with Qin final week forward of his journey to debate “the significance of sustaining open traces of communication,” State Division spokesperson Matthew Miller mentioned in a press release.

The Related Press reported that neither Qin or Blinken made substantial feedback to reporters forward of their first assembly on Sunday. The information service additionally famous that Blinken will meet with China’s high diplomat, Wang Yi, and probably Chinese language chief Xi Jinping on Monday.

Tensions between the U.S. and China have been rising as the 2 nations compete for international affect. Their relationship has additionally been strained by quite a few crises, together with shut army confrontations within the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, the spy balloon incident final February and up to date reporting that China has been spying on the U.S. from Cuba for years.

Blinken’s journey to Beijing comes after he canceled his preliminary journey in February over the Chinese language surveillance balloon that crossed the USA earlier than being shot down. With this journey, he has develop into the primary secretary of State in 5 years to journey to China.

On Saturday, President Biden mentioned the spy balloon incident was extra “embarrassing” for China “than it was intentional.”

“And so, I’m hoping that, over the following a number of months, I’ll be assembly with [Chinese leader] Xi [Jinping] once more and speaking about authentic variations we now have but additionally how there’s areas we are able to get alongside,” Biden added.

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Forward of his journey, Blinken spoke with Japanese Minister for International Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa and International Minister Park Jin. In feedback made to Park, Blinken emphasised the necessity for China to make use of its energy to “encourage Pyongyang to have interaction in severe and sustained diplomacy.” 

Blinken shall be in China Sunday and Monday earlier than leaving to journey to London.